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Full text of "Fanny Crosby's story of ninety-four years"

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Endowed by the Reverend 

Louis Fitzgerald Benson, d.d. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Princeton Theological Seminary Library 


Fanny Crosby 
(Frances Jane Crosby Van Alstyne) 



Retold by 

Author of "Lincoln's Use of the Bible," etc., etc. 

New York Chicago 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

London and Edinburgh 

Copyright, 1915, oy 

Appreciative acknowledgment is made for 
permission to insert the hymns and verses 
written by Fanny Crosby, of which The 
Biglow & Main Co. own the copyrights. 

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue 
Chicago : 17 North Wabash Ave. 
London : 21 Paternoster Square 
Edinburgh: 75 Princes Street 

To All Those 
on earth and in Heaven, who 
have been blessed and helped 
by Fanny Crosby 's sacred 
songs and joy-crowned life 

There's music in the air 

When the infant morn is nigh, 
And faint its blush is seen 

On the bright and laughing sky ; 
Many a harp's ecstatic sound 
Comes with thrill of joy profound 
While we list enchanted there 
There is music in the air. 

There's music in the air 

When the noontide's sultry beam 
Reflects a golden light 

On the distant mountain stream ; 
When beneath some grateful shade 
Sorrow's aching head is laid, 
Sweetly to the spirit there 
Comes the music in the air. 

There's music in the air 

When the twilight's gentle sigh 
Is lost on evening's breast 

As its pensive beauties die ; 
Then, O then, the loved ones gone 
Wake the pure celestial song. 
Angel voices greet us there 
In the music in the air. 



" Aunt Fanny "... 


Childhood . 


Growing Into Womanhood . 


A Little Love Story . 


Howl Became a Hymn- Writer 


My Living Hymns . 


Some Stories of My Songs . 


My Teachers and Teaching 


My Notable Preachers 


Making the Best of Every- 



My Love for Children . 


American Hearts and Homes 


My Visit to Cambridge 


Ninety Golden Years . 


" Some Day, Till Then " 







Safe in the Arms of Jesus 

Safe in the arms of Jesus, 

Safe on His gentle breast, 
There by His love o'ershaded, 

Sweetly my soul shall rest. 
Hark ! 'tis the voice of angels, 

Borne in a song to me, 
Over the fields of glory, 

Over the jasper sea. 

Safe in the arms of Jesus, 
Safe on His gentle breast, 

There by His love o'ershaded, 
Sweetly my soul shall rest. 

Safe in the arms of Jesus, 

Safe from corroding care, 
Safe from the world's temptations, 

Sin cannot harm me there. 
Free from the blight of sorrow, 

Free from my doubts and fears : 
Only a few more trials, 

Only a few more tears ! 

Jesus, my heart's dear refuge, 

Jesus has died for me : 
Firm on the Rock of Ages 

Ever my trust shall be. 
Here let me wait with patience, 

Wait till the night is o'er : 
Wait till I see the morning 

Break on the golden shore. 

[ 1868 ] 


Opposite page 
Frances Jane Crosby Van Alstyne . . Title 

Where Fanny Crosby Was Born 

Fanny Crosby as She Was in 1872 . 

Two Famous Hymn Makers — Fanny Crosby 
and Ira D. Sankey . 

Fast Friends for Fifty Years : Fanny Crosby 
and Hubert P. Main 

u Aunt Fanny " Among the Children 

Fanny Crosby at Seventy- five . 

"Aunt Fanny's " Book and Knitting 





In the year 1872, Frances Ridley Havergal, one 
of England's sweetest sacred singers and saint liest 
women , paid the following beautiful tribute to Fanny 
Crosby, her sister hymn-writer in America, 

Sweet blind singer over the sea, 

Tuneful and jubilant ! how can it be 

That the songs of gladness, which float so far, 

A.s if they fell from the evening star, 

Are the notes of one who may never see 

" Visible music " of flower and tree, 

Purple of mountain, or glitter of snow, 

Ruby and gold of the sunset glow, 

And never the light of a loving face ? 

Must not the world be a desolate place 

For eyes that are sealed with the seal of years, 

Eyes that are open only for tears ? 

How can she sing in the dark like this ? 

What is her fountain of light and bliss ? 

O, her heart can see, her heart can see ! 
And its sight is strong and swift and free ; 
Never the ken of mortal eye 
Could pierce so deep and far and high 
As the eagle vision of hearts that dwell 
In the lofty, sunlit citadel 
Of Faith that overcomes the world, 
With banners of Hope and Joy unfurled, 
Garrisoned with God's perfect peace, 
Ringing with paeans that never cease, 
Flooded with splendour bright and broad, 
The glorious light of the Love of God. 

Her heart can see, her heart can see ! 
Well may she sing so joyously ! 
For the King Himself, in His tender grace 
Hath shown her the brightness of His face ; 
And who shall pine for a glow-worm light 
When the sun goes forth in His radiant might ? 
She can read His law, as a shining chart, 
For His finger hath written it on her heart ; 
She can read His love, for on all her way 
His hand is writing it every day. 
" Bright cloud " indeed must that darkness be, 
When " Jesus only " the heart can see. 

Dear blind sister over the sea 

An English heart goes forth to thee. 

We are linked by a cable of faith and song 

Flashing bright sympathy swift along ; 

One in the East and one in the West 

Singing for Him whom our souls love best, 

" Singing for Jesus," telling His love 

All the way to our home above, 

Where the severing sea, with its restless tide, 

Never shall hinder and never divide. 

Sister ! what shall our meeting be, 

When our hearts shall sing, and our eyes shall see J 

Lincoln the Great 


With loyal devotion again we recall 

The birthday of Lincoln so dear to us all; 

Our president, hero, and statesman in one, 

As firm as a rock and as true as the sun; 

An honest defender of justice and truth, 

A brilliant example he leaves for our youth, 

The words he has spoken, the deeds he has wrought, 

A lesson of wisdom and patience have taught. 


When wildly the ship of our union was tossed, 
And sages predicted that all would be lost, 
Still, still at the helm like a giant he stood, 
With courage undaunted repelling the flood. 
Then lifting his eyes from the storm-girded wave, 
And looking to Jesus the mighty to save, 
Though billows were raging and thunders were loud, 
He saw like a vision God's bow in the cloud. 


His strong resolution no mortal could shake, 

The old Constitution he would not forsake, 

He reverenced his country and honored its laws, 

A martyr to freedom he died in her cause. 

The pages of history, the annals of fame, 

The voice of the nation his greatness proclaim, 

The world like a trumpet reechoes his worth, 

And crowns with bright laurels the day of his birth. 

[February, igog] Fanny J. Crosby. 


Aunt Fanny 


Trustfully, trustfully 

Come I to Thee ; 
Jesus, Thou blessed One, 

Thine would I be ; 
Then shall I cheerfully, 

Truly and earnestly 
Walk in Thy Spirit, 

Saviour, with Thee. 

Peacefully, peacefully 

Come I to Thee ; 
More of Thy presence, Lord, 

Grant Thou to me ; 
Then shall I carefully, 

Watchfully, prayerfully 
Walk in Thy Spirit, 

Closer to Thee. 

Joyfully, joyfully 

Come I to Thee ; 
Thou art my loving Friend, 

Precious to me ; 
O may I restfully, 

Calmly and lovingly 
Dwell in Thy Spirit, 

Saviour, with Thee. 

[ 1898 ] 


" Singing for Jesus, telling His love 
All the way to the home above, 
Where the severing sea with its restless tide 
Never shall hinder, and never divide." 

THIS little book has been written 
in loving appreciation of one 
whom I knew intimately for 
many years, and whose hymns I have 
sung since baby-days. No attempt has 
been made to present a critical study of 
Frances Jane Crosby, but simply to retell 
the life of the Sightless Singer as she, her- 
self, told it to me on various occasions 
when visiting my home. What has been 
brought together will, I trust, prove both 
pleasurable and profitable to men and 
women everywhere, who have been 
helped and blessed by her ministry of 
sacred song. 


12 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

I met Fanny Crosby before I went to 
college, and I made up my mind that 
when I became a minister of the Gospel 
and living in a manse, the first notable 
person I would entertain should be Fanny 
Crosby. It is now twenty years ago 
since our home was first honoured with 
her presence, and each year down to 19 14 
she was an annual guest. During these 
years I noted five outstanding character- 
istics in her life. 

First, her diligent industry. Aunt 
Fanny was one of the most industrious 
souls I have ever known. Whenever she 
came to visit us her little work-bag and 
knitting needles were ever present. She 
delighted in knitting wash-rags for her 
friends. It seemed quite impossible for 
her to be idle. Some one must be reading 
to her, or she must be working out some 
poem, or plying her needle, or what not. 
Aunt Fanny was the soul of industry. 

Then there was her wonderful memory. 

"Aunt Fanny" 13 

It was in every way remarkable. In re- 
lating her story to me she was always 
able to recall her poems at will, and quote 
them without missing a word. In the 
church services she would sing her own 
hymns with the choir and congregation 
with as much ease and accuracy as those 
who had the books in their hands, and 
in place of reading a set lesson from the 
Scriptures, would repeat chapters from 
the Bible. 

Again, an outstanding unselfishness 
possessed her through all the days of 
her life. She could have been a rich 
woman had she cared to become one ; 
but she poured out the wealth of her 
heart and mind solely to make others 
happier and better. Often when a dona- 
tion was presented to her from an indi- 
vidual or the church, she would protest 
that she was being given too much ; and 
she often shared what she received with 
those who needed it more than herself. 

14 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

Then there was her unfailing joyous- 
ness, which was as a sunbeam wherever 
she went. I never once heard her utter 
a sad or regretful note. She was at all 
times as lively as a cricket. There was 
always a bright light in her cloud. One 
of her favourite expressions was : " Bless 
your dear soul, I am so happy to see 
you." This spirit of joy she scattered 
everywhere she went, among old and 
young, rich and poor. To feel glum or 
depressed with Aunt Fanny around so 
full of real joyousness brought always a 
sense of reproach. Her joy was infec- 
tious. People caught its spirit and gath- 
ered it into their own hearts. 

Finally, there was her wonderful, un- 
failing sympathy. In my intimate ac- 
quaintance with Fanny Crosby for over 
twenty years, I must confess that I have 
not found a person with so many cupfuls 
of comfort for burdened and distressed 
souls. Hundreds of her hymns were 

"Aunt Fanny" 15 

nothing more than the outpouring of her 
cup of comfort to make the weak strong, 
and the blind to see. If she knew of a 
troubled heart or a wounded body among 
her friends, it mattered not how far away 
the sufferer might be, Fanny could not 
retire at night until she had thought 
out of her heart some message for the 
troubled soul. 

While visiting our home about three 
years ago, she heard of one of her blind 
school friends, by the name of Alice 
Holmes, whom she had not seen in forty 
years. Alice was sick and Fanny said, 
11 Dear Alice, I am two years older than 
she. We roomed together in the Institu- 
tion for the Blind. I wish I could see 
and help her." The next day a friend 
took Fanny to see her suffering school- 
mate, and I accompanied her. Alice 
Holmes was somewhat deaf, but she 
knew the voice of her school chum of 
seventy-five years before. Aunt Fanny 

16 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

placed her arms around Alice's neck and 
kissed and hugged her, and the two 
blind women wept. I sat in silence as 
Fanny poured out the sympathy of her 
heart and cheered her stricken friend. 
As we came away Alice said, " Fan, you 
have greatly helped me to-day, and my 
soul is comforted by your visit. I have 
long desired to see you. Good-bye, 
Fan ; we shall meet again in the better 

Fanny Crosby not only sought to 
strengthen the hearts of individuals but 
she sent constantly her cup of comfort 
to the church as well. It was my 
custom, once a year, to send her a birth- 
day present, On her ninetieth birthday 
I sent her one hundred beautiful carna- 
tions and she sent this message in return : 

Dear friends, my heart is with you, 
Your kindness I recall ; 
And on ray ninetieth birthday 
I greet you one and all. 

"Aunt Fanny" 17 

Oh, glory be to Jesus, 
My Saviour, friend, and guide ; 
I'm going home to praise Him, 
I'm walking by His side. 
God keep thee, faithful pastor, 
And shield thee from above, 
Beneath His royal banner, 
Of mercy, peace, and love. 

When Mr. Sankey lay sick and nigh 
unto death Fanny could not rest at home 
in Bridgeport. She must go to him and 
give him the comfort of her own heart. 
She took to him a chalice full of consola- 
tion, and wonderfully helped the great 
gospel singer in the struggle through 
which he passed in the last days of his 
earthly pilgrimage. The two sightless 
servants of God (Mr. Sankey was blind 
for some years) sat together and talked 
of days gone by. Then God's Holy Book 
was read, prayer offered, one of their old 
battle hymns sung, and Fanny went away. 
But Sankey felt that an angel-hand of 
strength had been held out to him, and 

i8 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

that the presence of Fanny Crosby had 
been to his heart as a healing balm. 

On one occasion I took her to a family 
that had undergone a great struggle, 
where the darkness was so thick that it 
could almost be felt. Poverty's hand 
had suddenly reached the home, for death 
had recently taken the father and bread- 
winner to the land of spirits. There 
seemed to be none capable of comforting 
these people who had seen better and 
brighter days. But when Fanny entered, 
she was as skillful in her use of words as 
an angel spirit. She talked as one in- 
spired of God. Then she prayed, and 
what a prayer of comfort it was ! Before 
leaving she gave to the stricken family 
a part of the money the church had given 
to her and said, " I want you to remem- 
ber Jehovah-Jireth. It means ' The Lord 
Will Provide.' ' It may not be my way ; 
it may not be thy way, but yet in His 
own way the Lord will provide.' " 

"Aunt Fanny" 19 

Last year, after she had returned from 
a very delightful visit with us, she was 
not home a week before she sent a 
message of good cheer. It was truly a 
note of comfort that came from a loving 

Beloved friends in Hackettstown, 

I greet you, one and all. 

The kindness you have shown to me 

My grateful thoughts recall ; 

The flowers that on my birthday came 

I never will forget; 

Within the garden of my heart 

Those flowers are blooming yet. 

Beloved pastor, called of God, 

On Zion's walls to stand 

And wield the mighty sword of truth 

At His supreme command, — 

I see you toiling at your post, 

I hear your voice again, 

I catch its well- remembered tones, 

And, were I strong as then, 

I'd speed away in joyful haste, 

On airy pinions bright, 

Where youthful lips will join to sing 

My humble songs to-night. 

20 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

And though I may not go to them, 

I'll listen while they sing ; 

And as their music floats along 

I'll hear its echoes ring ; 

And looking up in trusting faith, 

Be this my glad refrain : 

Our God be with you, precious ones, 

Until we meet again. 

And now she has passed on to the 
Land of Pure Delight of which she sang 
so beautifully and so often. Yet she is 
not dead. Her memory lingers in the 
hearts of those who knew and loved her 
and on whom the rays of her sunshine 
fell ; while amid that larger circle, the 
wide world over, who knew Fanny 
Crosby only through her ministry of 
song, her name and her influence are 
among those things which men and 
women of this and succeeding genera- 
tions will not willingly let die. 



Jesus dear, I come to Thee, 

Thou hast said I may ; 
Tell me what my life should be ? 

Take my sins away ; 
Jesus dear, I learn of Thee 

In Thy Word divine ; 
Every promise there I see, 

May I call it mine. 

Jesus dear, I long for Thee, 

Long Thy peace to know ; 
Grant those purer joys to me 

Earth can ne'er bestow ; 
Jesus dear, I cling to Thee. 

When my heart is sad 
Thou wilt kindly speak to me, 

Thou wilt made me glad. 

Jesus dear, I trust in Thee, 

Trust Thy tender love ; 
There's a happy home for me 

With Thy saints above ; 
Jesus, I would come to Thee, 

Thou hast said I may ; 
Tell me what my life should be, 

Take my sins away. 
I 1867 ] 



" Hers was the line of noble souls and pure, 
Of patient doers well, dear friends of God, 
Who faithful e'en through suffering could 
Walking the way the saints and martyrs 

IT was in the year 1895 that Aunt 
Fanny Crosby first came to our 
home. Thus began a friendship 
that was to so bind its golden cords of 
love around our lives as to enable us to 
feel them drawing us to the best and 
highest things, even though she has her- 
self entered the realms of the blest. 

After ten years' acquaintance, I felt 
free to talk with Aunt Fanny, who was 
looked for at our home just as we look 
for spring and fall. In the glow of the 
evening we sat together in the month of 

24 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

May. It was a charming sunset, and I 
endeavoured to describe it to her. She 
clapped her hands and cried, " Glorious, 

"Aunt Fanny," I said, "I have read 
much about your life right from my 
childhood days, and since, as you say, 
you expect to live to be one hundred and 
three I want you to give me, from your 
own heart, the story of your life. Each 
time you visit us we will take some par- 
ticular phase." 

The birch was burning brightly in the 
open fireplace as we sat together that 
evening, and as I drew my chair towards 
hers she dropped her knitting in her lap 
and said, "You dear soul, I have been 
thinking of what you asked me at sun- 
down, and I shall be as happy as a lark 
to tell you anything that would be of 
vital interest to other lives to help them 
along the rugged path. Mine has been 
an experience that has ripened into a 

Childhood 25 

faith as strong as the hills. It has given 
me a hope that admits me into the room 
called Beautiful. It has arrayed my path- 
way with the jewels of love so that in my 
old age I love everybody. 

" Now, to begin. I was born on the 
twenty-fourth day of March in the year 
of our Lord 1820 in Southeast, Putnam 
County, New York. The cottage in which 
I was born was only one story high. My 
mother was a brave, industrious woman 
of the New England type that helped to 
lay the foundation of this Republic. My 
father's name was John Crosby. I have 
no recollection of him, for he died before 
I was twelve months old, but we traced 
the Crosbys back to 1635, when they 
lived beyond the Charles River, and 
were among the founders of Harvard 
College. So you see I belong to a 
granite stock. Our family, too, was 
noted for its longevity. My mother 
lived to be ninety-one, my great-grand- 

26 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

mother reached the age of one hundred 
and three, and I would like to go a little 
beyond that. 

" When about six weeks old I was 
taken sick and my eyes grew very weak 
and those who had charge of me poul- 
ticed my eyes. Their lack of knowledge 
and skill destroyed my sight forever. As 
I grew older they told me I should never 
see the faces of my friends, the flowers of 
the field, the blue of the skies, or the 
golden beauty of the stars. 

" When my dear mother knew that I 
was to be shut out from all the beauties 
of the natural world she told me, in my 
girlhood, that two of the world's greatest 
poets were blind, and that sometimes 
Providence deprived persons of some 
physical faculty in order that the spiritual 
insight might more fully awake. I re- 
member well the day she read to me, 
with deep expression, Milton's sonnet on 
his blindness : 

Childhood 27 

" * When I consider how my light is spent 
Ere half my days, in this dark world and 

And that one talent which is death to 

Lodged with me useless, though my soul 

more bent 
To serve therewith my Maker, and present 
My true account, lest He turning chide ; 
Doth God exact day labour, light denied, 
I fondly ask ? But patience, to prevent 
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not 

Either man's work or his own gifts; who 

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best ; 

His state 
Is kingly ; thousands at His bidding speed 
And post o'er land and ocean without rest ; 
They also serve who only stand and wait.' 

"Soon I learned what other children 
possessed, but I made up my mind to 
store away a little jewel in my heart, 
which I called Content. This has been 
the comfort of my whole life. When I 
was eight years of age I wrote : 

28 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

what a happy soul am I ! 

Although I cannot see, 

1 am resolved that in this world 

Contented I will be. 

How many blessings I enjoy, 

That other people don't. 
To weep and sigh because I'm blind, 

I cannot, and I won't. 

" I was a child of deep affection and a 
great lover of pets. One evening my 
mother brought home a motherless lamb 
and I said, ' Mother, I'll be a little mother 
to that little creature. I'll call it Fanny's 
little lamb.' Right there mother sat down 
and told me, for the first time, the story 
of Mary's Little Lamb. I shall never for- 
get it. I could see in my mind's eye 
Mary going to school with her pet lamb ; 
so I made up my mind that I would love 
my lamb. I played with it and took it 
with me wherever I went. We grew up 
together, the lamb and I. We roamed 
the fields, we went over the hills, we ram- 

Childhood 29 

bled down by the brook, and often fell 
asleep together under an old oak tree. 
One day my heart was broken. Mother 
sold my pet to a butcher, and I wept 
bitter tears. They never told me what 
they did with my friend and companion, 
but at nights before I went to bed I 
would kneel down and cry and ask God 
to bless Fanny's lamb. 

" My grandmother was to me more 
than I can ever express by word or pen. 
When she knew that her little grand- 
daughter was to be sightless for life, she 
sought to make up for the loss of my 
eyes by coming to our home, taking me 
on her knee and rocking me while she 
told me of the beautiful sun, with its 
sunrise and its sunset. And » v< * never 
overlooked its noonday splendour. Of 
the shining moon she gave me such de- 
scriptions as I never forgot. The golden 
stars were so described by her as to give 
me a love for astronomy that continues 

30 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

to the present hour. The clouds with 
their shapes and colours were made real 
to me by her. One afternoon after a 
thunder-storm Grandma caught me in 
her arms and took me to the brow of a 
hill and described a beautiful rainbow 
overarching the Croton River. I remem- 
ber her saying, ' O Fanny, there is such 
a beautiful bow in the heavens. It has 
seven colours ; I wish you could see it ; it 
is a sign of God's covenant of mercy to 
this world.' She described the colours in 
such vivid language that they were all 
real to me. 

" She also told me the story of the birds. 
I knew the red-headed woodpecker, the 
red-winged blackbird, the mocking-bird 
with its white chin, and the bird with its 
garment of blue. One day I heard a 
strange sound coming from the meadow 
saying, * Whippoorwill.' Grandma told 
me about the bird which gave out that 
curious note and described its mottled 

Childhood 31 

wings and reddish brown breast and its 
bristled mouth, with its white bristled 
tail. So, afterwards, whenever I heard 
the sound of the whippoorwill I knew 
its colour and its shape. From Grand- 
mother I also learned something of the 
meadow-lark, the cuckoo, the song-spar- 
row, the goldfinch, the yellow warbler, 
the wren, and the robin. I grew r to know 
the birds by their songs. One day I 
wrote of the bird : 

Ah, now thou art happy again, my bird, 
And thy voice rings out so clear, 

That the robin, the wren, and the bluebird, too, 
Are coming its trill to hear. 

" Grandma was also my teacher in 
flowers. Flowers always had a charm 
for me. I loved to handle them, and I 
revelled in their fragrance. She told me 
of the apple, cherry and peach blossoms. 
She described the pansy, the peony, the 
sweet pea, the scarlet poppy, the prim- 

32 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 


rose, and roses, pink, red, white, and yeL 
low. Often we went down to the brook 
together to gather violets. The violet 
with its fragrance and its modesty is my 
favourite flower. I once wrote a poem 
on seeking violets. Here is part of it : 

Roaming all day in the meadow so green, 
Seeking for violets, thou art, my queen, 
Where have you hid them ? Down deep in 

your heart ? 
Why are you blushing? And why do you 

start ? 
Seeking for violets ? When do they grow ? 
Think you to find them in summer? No, no; 
Not such a thought ever entered your head, 
Nor is there truth in a word you have said. 

" Often in the fall season Grandma 
Cook me for walks over the hills and 
through the lanes, telling me the story of 
the trees and their leaves. I knew the 
trees by the sense of touch and by their 
fragrance, and the leaves by handling 
and remembering. I often gathered the 
autumn leaves and played with them. In 

Childhood 33 

after years I wrote some verses entitled, 
4 Only a Leaf.' 

'Tis only a leaf, a withered leaf, 

But its story is fraught with pain ; 

'Twas the gift of one who is far away, 
And will never come back again. 

"It was Grandma who brought the 
Bible to me, and me to the Bible. The 
stories of the Holy Book came from her 
lips and entered my heart and took deep 
root there. When the evening shadows 
fell, Grandma would take me alone, and 
rocking me in her old chair, tell me of a 
kind heavenly Father, who sent His only 
son Jesus Christ down into this world to 
be a Saviour and a Friend to all man- 
kind. Then she taught me to kneel in 
prayer and often I bowed my weary little 
head and sightless eyes in Grandma's lap, 
and fell asleep. 

" Years ago I dedicated a few verses 
to the memory of Grandma's rocking- 

34 Fanny Crosby f s Own Story 

chair and I often repeat them wherever I 
have an opportunity to speak in public : 

I am thinking of a cottage, 
On a quiet rural dell, 
And a brook that ran beside it, 
That I used to love so well. 
I have sat for hours and listened, 
While it rippled at my feet, 
And I thought no other music 
In the world was half so sweet." 

Here Aunt Fanny said, " I wish you 
would bring me the Bible. I want you 
to read the thirty-second and thirty- 
third chapters of the book of Deute' 
ronomy." I read them to her as her face 
gleamed with the very sunshine of God. 
Clapping her hands together she said, 
" I look upon these as my favourite 
chapters in the Old Testament. Where 
in all literature can we find such expres- 
sions of beauty and vitality ? This Holy 
Book nurtured my early life. When a 
girl I could repeat from memory the five 

Childhood 35 

books of Moses, most of the New Testa- 
ment, many of the Psalms, the Proverbs 
of Solomon, the Book of Ruth, and that 
greatest of all prose poems, the Songs of 
Solomon. Most of my early poetry was 
built up on subjects taken from the Bible, 
such as : * The Trial of Abraham's Faith/ 

* The Meeting of Jacob and Joseph/ 

* Samson and the Philistines.' The New 
Testament gave me many subjects of 
great value for poems. To-day I love the 
dear Old Book, that I have tested and 
tried, more than ever. * The statutes of 
the Lord are right.' I have proved them. 
Through all my years they have always 
been ' Yea/ and ' Amen.' You know that 
to one like myself shut in from much that 
those blessed with the sense of seeing en- 
joy, God's Holy Word has been, and is, 
doubly precious. On it I have rested 
right through the years. On it I rest 
now ; and whether my years on earth be 
few or many, I shall rest on it to the end. 

36 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

I wrote a little poem for Mr. I. Allan 
Sankey not so long since, which relates 
my love for the Bible : 

O Book, that with rev'rence I honour, 
What joy in thy pages I see ! 

O Book of my childhood devotion, 

More precious than rubies to me." 

The birch logs in the open fireplace 
had by this time burned to ashes, and 
little shimmering mounds lit up with fire 
opals were flinging their glow over their 
beds of silver, as Aunt Fanny and I 
parted for the night. 


Growing Into Womanhood 

Hold Thou my hand ; so weak am I, and helpless, 
I dare not take one step without Thy aid ; 

Hold Thou my hand ; for then, O loving Saviour, 
No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid. 

Hold Thou my hand, and closer, closer, draw me 
To Thy dear self — my hope, my joy, my all ; 

Hold Thou my hand, lest haply I should wander, 
And missing Thee, my trembling feet should fall. 

Hold Thou my hand ; the way is dark before me 
Without the sunlight of Thy face divine ; 

But when by faith I catch its radiant glory, 
What heights of joy, what rapturous songs, are 

Hold Thou my hand, that, when I reach the 

Of that lone river Thou didst cross for me, 
A heavenly light may flash along its waters, 

And every wave like crystal bright shall be. 

[ 1874 ] 



u Friendship, peculiar boon of heaven, 
The noble mind's delight and pride, 
To men and angels only given, 
To all the lower world denied." 

" A UNT FANNY >" l said » " l want 

/-A you to take up the thread of 
your life-story just where you 
left it last spring." 

" Well," she replied, " I am ready." 
It was the fall of the year and Aunt 
Fanny was again at our fireside. On the 
Sabbath she had thrilled the hearts of 
hundreds of people with her message. 
On Monday afternoon I took her for a 
long auto ride in the country, with the 
understanding that we were to spend the 
evening together in the study. I took 
the little rocking-chair, which we always 
kept for her, to the study and as she en- 

40 Fanny Crosby l s Own Story 

tered I described to her the pictures that 
hung on the walls. They were of Tenny- 
son, of Browning, and Carlyle, of New- 
man, Ruskin, Lincoln. As she sat down 
I told her that just over her head was 
Hoffman's picture of Christ, and in front 
of her the faces of Florence Nightingale, 
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Julia Ward Howe, 
and Jenny Lind. " Have you Jenny 
Lind's picture ? " she said. " I heard her 
sing ; I will tell you about her later." 

Aunt Fanny seemed to be as one in- 
spired when she realized that she was sur- 
rounded by so many faces of those whose 
lives and works she knew so well. 

After a little while she said : " Now, we 
will go on with my story. When I was 
about nine years of age we went to live 
at Ridgefield, Connecticut. Here we 
spent six most beautiful and beneficial 
years. It was here that I first met Syl- 
vester Main, father of Hubert P. Main, 
who in after life became one of my most 

Growing Into Womanhood 41 

precious friends. At the age of fifteen 
I entered the Institution for the Blind 
in New York City, where I remained as 
a pupil for twelve years, improving my 
opportunities and stocking my mind 
with useful knowledge. At the Institu- 
tion I made a careful study of the poetry 
of Thomas Moore, Horatius Bonar, James 
Montgomery, Longfellow, Tennyson, Bry- 
ant, Whittier, Willis, Wesley, Morris and 
many others. Here also I wrote many 
poems, unknown to my teachers. One 
long poem on the poets, however, was 
praised by my friends. It concludes, 

You from whose garners I have gleaned 
Such precious fruit, the task has seemed 
So pleasant that my humble pen 
Would fain resume its work again ; 
In your bright realms 'twere bliss to stay ; 
But time forbids, and I obey. 

"While in this Institution I was often 
taken to churches and schools to show 
what the blind were capable of doing. 

42 Fanny Crosby 's Own Story 

Well do I remember our visiting Congress 
in the autumn of 1843 when I recited 
a number of my poems, which were well 
received. They told me that stalwart 
men were moved to tears when in one 
of my poems I reached the words : 

O ye who here from every state convene, 
Illustrious band, may we not hope the scene 
That you behold will prove to every mind 
Instruction hath a ray to cheer the blind. 

" On returning from such visits a deeper 
inner longing awoke within my breast 
for the crystal streams of literature and 
the friendship of faithful souls. I wanted 
to go with the gallant, to sit with the 
sincere, to associate with those who, like 
myself, were winning their way, in the 
face of the fiercest foes, seeking a truer 
meaning to life. A great life was a won- 
derful inspiration to me. Whenever an 
opportunity came to meet noted states- 
men, masterful musicians, literary lead- 
ers and artistic mortals, I always availed 

Growing Into Womanhood 43 

myself of it. I craved for them as the 
heart panteth for the water-brooks. 

" To know and make friends with the 
builders of this nation was a desire of my 
growing womanhood. Just think, I have 
lived during the lifetime of all the Presi- 
dents of the United States, Washington 
excepted. Ex- President John Adams was 
called to rest in the year 1826. I was 
then just six years old. 

" When in Washington I listened with 
untold pleasure to John Quincy Adams, 
the sixth President of the Republic. I 
admired his firmness, intelligence and 
integrity. He had a warm corner in my 
heart. I was also a true lover and sup- 
porter of Andrew Jackson- He was a 
man of principle and fought for his na- 
tion and not his position. He was a big 
man, and I honoured him and used all 
the influence I possessed in his favour. 
Though we never met face to face, he 
knew my strong feelings towards him. 

44 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

President VanBuren I met, talked with, 
supped with and hailed as the ' Little 
Magician.' Down to his dying day he 
was one of my closest friends. President 
William Henry Harrison, who remained 
in office only one month, I revered. I 
was glad to sing his deeds and herald 
his virtues in song : 

The forest with his praises rung, 
His fame was echoed far and wide, 

With loud hurrah his name was sung, 
Columbia's hero and her pride. 

The tuneful harp is now unstrung, 

And on the drooping willow hung. 

"When President John Tyler visited 
the Institution for the Blind in New York 
City, I was asked to write a poem of 
welcome and recite it for him. I did my 
very best and when I concluded with the 

And the glad song of our nation shall be, 
Hurrah for John Tyler and liberty tree, 

the people clapped their hands and gave 

Growing Into Womanhood 45 

me such an ovation that I shall never 
forget his visit. President James Knox 
Polk was my intimate personal friend. I 
recited for him at the White House, and 
he became unusually interested in me. 
In the year 1848 President Polk visited 
the Institution for the Blind and I had the 
honour of dining with him. Then he took 
my arm, and we went out under the lofty 
trees and through the grounds where we 
conversed together and listened to thi, 
bluebirds and robins. For a simple kind- 
ness which I showed to a domestic the 
President said, ' You have done well ; I 
commend you for it. Kindness to those 
in the humblest capacity of life should 
be our rule of conduct. By this act you 
have won, not only my respect, but my 
esteem.' On leaving him I went to my 
room feeling as happy as a bird in spring 
time that I had communed with a great 
scholar and statesman. That night, ere 
sleep closed my eyelids, I breathed a 

46 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

petition to our merciful Father to cause 
His face to shine upon my friend Presi- 
dent Polk. 

"One of the most sympathetic and 
dramatic scenes through which I passed 
during my stay at the Institution, was 
when Henry Clay came to visit us. I 
knew the struggle of his early boyhood, 
and the story of his conquest over diffi- 
culties was an inspiration to my life. I 
was chosen to recite a poem of welcome 
in his honour. After I had rendered it, 
he came and took me by the hand and 
said to the audience, ■ This is not the only 
poem for which I am indebted to this 
lady. Six months ago she sent me some 
lines on the death of my dear son.' Here 
both Henry Clay and myself broke down 
and wept. 

" I have been greatly interested in all 
our Presidents, but, to me, Lincoln towers 
above the rest like a lofty cedar, and his 
name will never be effaced from the 

Growing Into Womanhood 47 

annals of the world's history. In reading 
carefully the history of great men, Abra- 
ham Lincoln is my captain and leader. 
Grant, Hayes, and Garfield have a secure 
place in my memory and a warm spot in 
my heart, but it was with Grover Cleve- 
land that I was brought into closer touch 
than with any other of the Presidents. 
He was secretary to the Institution for 
the Blind and I often went to him with 
my heartaches, and he always proved a 
sympathetic friend. He copied for me 
very many of my poems. Through all 
the years he knew me he took an interest 
in my life and work. I have visited him 
at his home in Lakewood and at Prince- 
ton. A few years ago he wrote me a 
letter of which I will send you a copy." 

[This is the letter :] 

" My Dear Friend : 

"It is more than fifty years ago 
that our acquaintance and friendship 
began ; and ever since that time I have 

48 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

watched your continuous and disin- 
terested labour in uplifting humanity, and 
pointing out the way to an appreciation 
of God's goodness and mercy. 

11 Though those labours have, I know, 
brought you abundant rewards in your 
consciousness of good accomplished, 
those who have known of your works and 
sympathized with your noble purposes 
owe it to themselves that you are apprized 
of their remembrance of these things. I 
am, therefore, exceedingly gratified to 
learn that your eighty-fifth birthday is to 
be celebrated with demonstration of this 
remembrance. As one proud to call you 
an old friend, I desire to be early in con- 
gratulating you on your long life of use- 
fulness, and wishing you in the years yet 
to be added to you the peace and comfort 
born of the love of God. 

"Yours very sincerely, 
" Grover Cleveland." 

The clock in the church tower was 
striking eleven as my wife brought in a 
cup of tea for Aunt Fanny. She drank it 
and added as she wished me good-night, 
" To-morrow I will tell you a little love 


A Little Love Story 

'Tis only a leaf, a withered leaf, 

But its story is fraught with pain ; 
'Twas the gift of one who is far away 

And will never return again ; 
'Tis only a leaf, a withered leaf 

And yet I prize it so, 
For it brings to my mem'ry the brightest hour 

I ever on earth shall know. 

'Tis only a leaf, a withered leaf, 

But its story is fraught with pain ; 
'Twas the gift of one who is far away 

And will never return again ; 
He will never return ; but I feel ere long 

My spirit with his will be, 
And the old-time love shall be sweeter there 

Where I know that he waits for me. 


" Music, religious heat inspires, 
It wakes the soul and lifts it high, 
And wings it with sublime desires, 
And fits it to bespeak the Deity." 

44 A UNT FANNY > l ho P e y° u are 

r-\ not too tired after so long a 
ride to tell me the story you 
promised last night ? " 

It had been a charming Indian summer 
day, and Aunt Fanny had been taken 
for an auto ride through New Brunswick 
and Princeton. When told in the morn- 
ing of the proposed trip she jumped up 
and danced around the room in rare 
delight. She truly loved an auto ride at 
any time, but what filled her heart witk 
special glee was the fact that she was to 
visit two college towns where she had so 
many faithful friends. 

52 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

We had spent a glorious day, and 
were back at the manse. Aunt Fanny sat 
rocking in her little armchair, her knit- 
ting needle and cotton in her lap ready to 
begin a wash-rag for the lady of the house. 

She plied her needles for a little while 
after I put my question and then with a 
smile began : 

" When they told me at the Institution 
for the Blind that William Cullen Bryant 
was coming to address the students and 
teachers, sweet music filled my soul ; for 
I had read most of his poems and knew 
many of them by heart. He had been 
kind enough to read several of my poems 
and had written me encouraging me to 
continue writing verse. I cannot tell you 
how much Bryant's words helped me when 
I felt disheartened or discouraged. He 
knew the secret of the art of a kind word. 
I too have made it a point in my life to 
help as far as it lay in my power those 
who were struggling to reach the summit. 

A Little Love Story 53 

" Right from the time when I first 
heard of P. T. Barnum I was very much 
interested in the man, and when I read 
that he was to bring Jenny Lind, the 
Swedish nightingale, to this country I 
became feverish to hear her. Words 
cannot express my feelings when the 
superintendent announced that Jenny 
Lind was to sing before the students and 
faculty of the Institution for the Blind. 
My heart was like an overflowing cup, 
my joy a living fountain, my body light 
as a feather. That morning I was un- 
able to eat any breakfast. Jenny Lind 
was to sing, and I to recite my poem, 
1 The Swedish Nightingale.' I felt her 
presence as she came on the platform and 
as I rose to speak I felt her influence all 
about me. I concluded my poem with 

Yet, Sweden's daughter, thou shalt live 

In every grateful heart ; 
And may the choicest gifts of heaven 

Be thine, where'er thou art. 

54 Fanny Crosby V Own Story 

" I have heard many of the world's 
greatest singers but no other has made 
such a lasting impression upon my mind 
as Jenny Lind singing, ' Home, Home, 
Sweet, Sweet Home.' 

" In this connection I must tell you of 
my visit to, and friendship with, Ole 
Bull. He was ten years my senior, and 
born in Bergen, Norway. Having heard 
a great deal about his wonderful playing 
on the violin, I, like other girls, was wild 
to hear him play. When it was an- 
nounced that Ole Bull was to pay us a 
visit, you can just imagine how I felt. I 
can weep over it even now. It seemed 
as though I literally saw him, as he drew 
his bow over the strings of his violin. 
The birds sang, the brooks rippled, the 
rain fell, the thunder roared, the sun- 
beams danced, the bells pealed, the 
angels sang. We were all enchanted. 
Burning tears of joy coursed down my 
cheeks and a light celestial threw its halo 

A Liit tie Love Story 55 

over my brow. When I grasped the 
hand of Ole Bull I felt as if I were touch- 
ing one from another world. We sat 
down together. He talked with me and 
his words charmed and cheered me. He 
gave me a clearer vision of life and love 
than I had ever conceived, and his music 
has made my own songs more sweet, 
more divine. 

" Now for my little love story. Some 
people seem to forget that blind girls 
have just as great a faculty for loving 
and do love just as much and just as 
truly as those who have their sight. I 
had a heart that was hungry for love. 
When I was about twenty a gifted young 
man by the name of Alexander Van 
Alstyne came to our Institution. He 
also was blind, and a most talented 
student. He was fond of classic litera- 
ture and theological lore, but made 
music a specialty. After hearing several 
of my poems he became deeply interested 

56 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

in my work ; and I after listening to his 
sweet strains of music became interested 
in him. Thus we soon grew to be very 
much concerned for each other. One 
day in June he went out under the elm 
trees to listen to the birds sing, and the 
winds play their love-song among the 
leaves. It was here the voice of love 
spoke within his breast. Listening, he 
heard its voice of music trilling its notes 
to his heart. Just then another to whom 
the voice was calling came towards the 
spot where he was musing. I placed 
my right hand on his left and called him 
1 Van.' Then it was that two happy 
lovers sat in silence while the sunbeams 
danced around their heads, and the 
golden curtains of day drew in their 
light. * Van ' took up the harp of love, 
and drawing his fingers over the golden 
chords, sang to me the song of a true 
lover's heart. From that hour two lives 
looked on a new universe, for love met 

A Little Love Story 57 

love, and all the world was changed. 
We were no longer blind, for the light of 
love showed us where the lilies bloomed, 
and where the crystal waters find the 
moss-mantled spring. 

"On March the fifth in the year 1858 
we were united in marriage. Now I am 
going to tell you of something that only 
my closest friends know. I became a 
mother and knew a mother's love. God 
gave us a tender babe but the angels 
came down and took our infant up to 
God and to His throne, 

" Van went home to his Father's house 
in the year 1902. During my stay as a 
teacher in the Institution for the Blind 
I touched the poetic garment of Mrs. 
Sigourney, sat long at the feet of Bayard 
Taylor, slaked my thirsty soul at the liv- 
ing streams of Frances Ridley Havergal, 
and drank deeply from the chalices of 
Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, and Low- 
ell. During these years I heard the best 

58 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

in music and read the purest in poetry 
and prose. This has of course helped 
me in my own work. From the master 
singers of my own country I have gath- 
ered inspiration for my own writing, and 
whatever my hymns have helped to do in 
the world has been much stimulated by 
my having sat at the feet of the great 
ones in the temple of song " 

The hour had now grown late and I 
saw that Aunt Fanny had grown tired, 
and that the hour for retirement was 
near. With her usual cup of tea she 
went to her room, promising on the mor- 
row to relate the story of how she became 
a writer of sacred songs. 


How I Became a Hymn- Writer 

We are going, we are going 

To a home beyond the skies, 
Where the fields are robed in beauty. 

And the sunlight never dies ; 
Where the fount of life is flowing 

In the valley green and fair, 
We shall dwell in love together ; 

There will be no parting there. 

We are going, we are going, 

And the music we have heard 
Like the echo of the woodland, 

Or the carol of a bird ; 
With the rosy light of morning, 

On the calm and fragrant air, 
Still it murmurs, softly murmurs, 

There will be no parting there. 

We are going, we are going, 

When the day of life is o'er, 
To the pure and happy region 

Where our friends have gone before; 
They are singing with the angels 

In that land so bright and fair ; 
We shall dwell with them forever ; 

There will be no parting there. 

[186 % — Fanny Crosby's first hymn.'] 


" Such songs have power to quiet 
The restless pulse of care, 
And come like the benediction 
That follows after prayer." 

" "W "T ERY early in life I began to 
\f write bits of verse," said Aunt 
Fanny. We sat together, the 
blind singer and I, just as the evening 
bells were calling to worship, she relating 
the story of how she became a hymn- 
writer. " From my eighth year I can 
remember little poetic pictures forming 
themselves in my mind. When I gath- 
ered flowers and caught their fragrance 
I wanted to say something poetic about 
them. When I heard the birds sing, I 

was anxious to understand their notes. 

62 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

As I wandered down by the brook with 
my grandmother, listening to the rip- 
pling of the waters, I felt something in 
my soul that I wanted to say about the 
rivulet and the river. 

"On entering the Institution for the 
Blind I knew many poems by heart and 
had already cultivated a strong love for 
the poetic art. My teachers did not en- 
courage me to write poetry ; often they 
would take from me my poetic works. 
This grieved my heart. One day Dr. 
Combe of Boston came to examine oui 
craniums. As he touched my head, and 
looked into my face he remarked, ' And 
here is a poetess ; give her every possible 
encouragement. Read the best books to 
her, and teach her to appreciate the finest 
there is in poetry. You will hear from 
this young lady some day.' 

" This was as music to my soul. I 
had waited long for some one to encour- 
age me to adhere to what I already felt 

/ Became a Hymn-Writer 63 


was to be my life-work — hymn-writing. 
I had written a large number of secular 
and religious poems, a few cantatas and 
many songs, but my real writing of 
Christian hymns began on my leaving 
the Institute, and becoming associated 
with some notable religious characters. 
They have been everything to me. Many 
of them have reached the Golden Strand, 
and I am sure of meeting and knowing 
them there. 

"Mr. W. B. Bradbury I first met at 
425 Broome Street, New York City. 
He asked me if I would write a hymn fc» 
him. I was delighted. I was hungry 
for some one to ask me that question. 
In three days I returned with some 
verses which he set to music and pub- 
lished. This was my first hymn : 

We are going, we are going, 
To a home beyond the skies, 

Where the fields are robed in beauty, 
And the sunlight never dies. 

64 Fanny Crosby } s Own Story 

We are going, we are going, 
And the music we have heard, 

Like the echo of the woodland, 
Or the carol of the bird. 

" My real work as a hymn- writer be- 
gan from that hour. I had found my 
mission, and was the happiest creature in 
all the land. Mr. Bradbury lightened 
many of my darkest days and scattered 
sunshine over my hours of care. 

" My hymn which first won world-wide 
attention was, ■ Pass Me Not, O Gentle 
Saviour.' Mr. W. H. Doane, who became 
a very dear friend of mine, suggested the 
subject to me. It was written in the 
year 1868. Dear Mr. Sankey said, * No 
hymn in our collection was more popular 
than this one at the meetings in London 
in 1874. It was sung at almost every 
service, in Her Majesty's Theatre, Pall 
Mall.' This hymn has been translated 
into many foreign languages, and remains 
a favourite wherever the English tongue 

Fanny Crosby as she was in 1872 

/ Became a Hymn-Writer 65 

is spoken. Mr. Doane did very much to 
bring my songs to the front. One day 
he came to me and said, ' Fanny, I have 
a tune I would like to have you write 
words for.' He played it over and I ex- 
claimed, * That says, Safe in the Arms of 
Jesus.' I went to my room, and in about 
thirty minutes I returned with the hymn 
that has since been a comfort and a solace 
to many heavy, sorrowing hearts. 

Safe in the arms of Jesus, 

Safe on His gentle breast, 
There by His love o'ershaded, 

Sweetly ray soul shall rest. 
Hark, 'tis the voice of angels, 

Borne in a song to me, 
Over the fields of glory, 

Over the jasper sea. 

" Dr. John Hall, in his day the famous 
pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian 
Church, New York, once told me that 
1 Safe in the Arms of Jesus ' gave more 
peace and satisfaction to mothers, who 

66 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

had lost their children, than any other 
hymn he had ever known. It has be- 
come famous throughout the world and 
was one of the first of American hymns to 
be translated into foreign languages. 

" Among my first and foremost friends, 
—one whose memory to me is as oint- 
nent poured forth — was Sylvester Main, 
of the firm of Biglow and Main. He be- 
came interested in me when a girl in 
Ridgefield, Connecticut. He was my 
faithful counsellor and guide. His son, 
Hubert P. Main, has always been as a 
brother to me, and I have known him for 
a half-century. He wrote the music for 
my words : 

On the banks beyond the river 
We shall meet no more to sever ; 
In the bright, the bright forever, 
In the summer-land of song. 

" Theodore E. Perkins, Philip Phillips, 
Dr. Robert Lowry, Dr. Van Meter, P. P. 

/ Became a Hymn-Writer 67 

Bliss, James M. McGranahan, Mrs. 
Joseph F« Knapp — all these I knew. 
But no names are so sacred to me as 
those of D wight L. Moody, Ira D. Sankey, 
George C. Stebbins, and William H. 
Doane. This nation has not produced a 
company of stronger men, nor any who 
have worked harder for the betterment of 
mankind. I must say a few words about 
dear Mr. Moody, for he meant so much 
to me. I never knew or found a kinder, 
bigger-hearted man. I look upon his life 
as simply wonderful. He was the big- 
gest piece of humanity this nation has 
yet produced. 

"Then there was my never-failing 
friend, Ira D. Sankey. I could give you 
a whole bookful about him. I was with 
him so much. He put new life into 
many of my songs. I revere his mem- 
ory. The last time I visited him in his 
home in Brooklyn we went over togethet 
the manifold mercies of our God. It was 

68 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

really pathetic to know that that stalwart 
man was lying on his bed — sightless. 
We wept and sang and prayed together. 
He never expected to cross over the 
river before Aunt Fanny, so on one oc- 
casion he wrote me a beautiful letter 
saying : * I wish that when you get to 
heaven (as you may before I shall) that 
you will watch for me at the pearly gate 
at the eastern side of the city ; and when 
I get there I'll take you by the hand and 
lead you along the golden street, up to 
the throne of God, and there we'll stand 
before the Lamb, and say to Him : " And 
now we see Thee face to face, saved by 
Thy matchless, boundless grace, and we 
are satisfied." p 

" One of my most devoted and precious 
friends is George C. Stebbins. He gave 
wings to my poem ■ Saved by Grace.' If 
ever there was a man of high honour and 
culture of character, it is Mr. Stebbins. 
He has filled up every nook of my life 

/ Became a Hymn-Writer 69 

with his goodness. I was seventy-one 
years of age when I wrote ' Saved by 
Grace.' I sent it to The Biglow & 
Main Co. They paid me for it, and 
placed it in their safe with hundreds of 
other hymns. Three years after I was 
visiting Mr. Sankey at East Northfield, 
Mass., while attending the summer con- 
ferences. One evening Mr. Sankey asked 
me to give a short address. I tried to 
excuse myself, as I did not feel prepared 
to speak before so many notables. Mr. 
Sankey, however, would not take ■ no ' 
for an answer. So I did as he requested, 
and there must have been a Providence 
in it after all, for I closed my remarks 
with the words of my hymn : 

Some day the silver cord will break, 
And I no more as now shall sing ; 

But, O, the joy when I shall wake 
Within the palace of the King ! 

"When I had finished Mr. Sankey 

70 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

turned to me and said, ' Fanny, where 
did you get that beautiful hymn ? ' 
■ Why, you ought to know,' I replied ; 
4 1 sold that song to you three years 
ago, and have waited all this time 
for an opportunity to recite it' Mr. 
Sankey lost no time in obtaining a 
copy of the song and requested Mr. 
Stebbins to set it to music, which he did, 
with the result that 'Saved by Grace* 
has become one of my most popular and 
useful hymns. 

" Mr. Sankey' s son, Ira Allan Sankey, 
now president of The Biglow & Main 
Co., has taken his sainted father's place, 
and has written some very impressive 
music for some of my songs. I was at 
a certain church a little while ago, and 
heard the soloist sing * Grandma's Rock- 
ing Chair,' set to music by I. Allan 
Sankey, and I really thought the son 
had surpassed the father in sweetness of 
tone and harmony of expression. On 

/ Became a Hymn-Writer 71 

the same evening the congregation sang 
my hymn, ' Never Give Up ' (music by 
the same composer), and I was delighted 
with the work of the son of the man who 
made 'The Ninety and Nine' famous. 
To this day I can hear the strains as the 
people sang my words that night : 

Never be sad or desponding 
If thou hast faith to believe ; 

Grace, for the duties before thee, 
Ask of thy God and receive. 

Never give up, never give up, 
Never give up to thy sorrows, 

Jesus will bid them depart. 
Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord, 
Sing when your trials are greatest, 

Trust in the Lord and take heart. 

" There is a great and wonderful truth 
embodied in these words. The whole 
victory of life is in them — ' Trust in the 
Lord and take heart.' That means the 
exercise of courage, the consciousness of 

72 Fanny Crosby 9 s Own Story 

being linked to One mightier than our- 
selves, and it helps one to keep smiling, 
to keep sunshiny, and to have, not only 
a song on the lip, but one in the heart." 


My Living Hymns 

Rescue the Perishing 

Rescue the perishing, 

Care for the dying, 
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave ; 

Weep o'er the erring one, 

Lift up the fallen, 
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save. 

Rescue the perishing, 
Care for the dying : 
Jesus is merciful, 
Jesus will save. 

Though they are slighting Him, 

Still He is waiting, 
Waiting the penitent child to receive : 

Plead with them earnestly, 

Plead with them gently : 
He will forgive if they only believe. 

Down in the human heart, 

Crushed by the tempter, 
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore : 

Touched by a loving heart, 

Wakened by kindness, 
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more. 

Rescue the perishing ; 

Duty demands it : 
Strength for thy labour the Lord will provide : 

Back to the narrow way 

Patiently win them : 
Tell the poor wanderer a Saviour has died. 




" Such songs have power to quiet 
The restless pulse of care, 
And come like the benediction 
That follows after prayer." 

m A UNT FANNY," I said, "I wish 
/-A you would tell me the story of 
■*■ ■*■ the five hymns by which you 
are most widely known." 

"Bless your dear soul," she replied in 
her usual ready way, "I shall be delighted 
to do so." 

The immediate cause of my asking for 
an account of how her greatest successes 
came to be written was my receiving a 
new hymnal which contained the names 
of fifty- three women authors, with eighty- 
three hymns to their credit. Frances 
Ridley Havergal had written eight 

76 Fanny Crosby V Own Story 

songs for the book, Charlotte Elliott, 
six, Fanny Crosby, five. Three of the 
writers were born the same year as her- 
self, — Anna L. Waring, who wrote " In 
Heavenly Love Abiding," Anna D. 
Warner, known by " One More Day's 
Work for Jesus," and Alice Cary. Of 
the rest she at least knew the names, 
and in most cases something more. We 
talked of many of these authors and then 
I put my question. 

" The first I must tell you of is 
1 Rescue the Perishing.' It was written 
in the year 1869, when I was forty-nine 
years old. It has been placed among the 
'One Hundred Hymns You Ought to 
Know.' Many of my hymns were written 
after experiences in New York mission 
work. This one was thus written. I 
was addressing a large company of 
working men one hot summer evening, 
when the thought kept forcing itself on 
my mind that some mother's boy must 

My Living Hymns 77 

be rescued that night or not at all. So I 
made a pressing plea that if there were a 
boy present who had wandered from his 
mother's home and teaching, he would 
come to me at the close of the service. 
A young man of eighteen came forward 
and said, ' Did you mean me ? I prom- 
ised my mother to meet her in heaven, 
but as I am now living that will be im- 
possible.' We prayed for him and he 
finally arose with a new light in his eyes 
and exclaimed in triumph : ' Now I can 
meet my mother in heaven, for I have 
found God.' 

11 A few days before Mr. Doane had sent 
me the subject, ' Rescue the Perishing,' 
and while I sat there that evening, the 
line came to me, * Rescue the Perishing, 
care for the dying.' I could think of 
nothing else that night. When I arrived 
home I went to work on the hymn at 
once, and before I retired it was ready 
for the melody. The next day my song 

78 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

was written out and forwarded to Mr. 
Doane, who wrote the beautiful and 
touching music as it now stands to my 

Rescue the perishing, 

Care for the dying, 
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave ; 

Weep o'er the erring one, 

Lift up the fallen, 
Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save. 

"In the year 1873 I wrote 'Blessed 
Assurance.' My friend Mrs. Joseph F. 
Knapp composed a melody and played 
it over to me two or three times on the 
piano. She then asked what it said. I 
replied : 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine ! 
O what a foretaste of glory divine ! 
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, 
Born of His spirit, washed in His blood. 

" Mr. Sankey in his ' Story of the Gos- 
pel Hymns ' says, ' One of the most popu- 
lar and useful of the Gospel Hymns is 

My Living Hymns 79 

" Blessed Assurance." It was sung by 
a large delegation of Christian Endeav- 
ourers on the train going to Minneapolis 
some years ago, and made a lasting im- 
pression upon many of the passengers. 
The people of Minneapolis, too, were 
greatly delighted with the Christian 
Endeavourers as they sang this song on 
the way to Convention Hall.' 

" Towards the close of a day in the 
year 1874 I was sitting in my room 
thinking of the nearness of God through 
Christ as the constant companion of my 
pilgrim journey, when my heart burst 
out with the words : 

Thou, my everlasting portion, 
More than friend or life to Thee ; 

All along my pilgrim journey, 
Saviour, let me walk with Thee. 

" Mr. Doane sent me the subject and 
the tune of ■ Saviour, More Than Life to 
Me ' or ' Every Day and Hour,' requesting 

80 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

me to write a hymn on that theme. This 
I did in the year 1874. This hymn has 
given me great comfort and joy in my 
saddest moments. I know that God has 
blessed this hymn to tens of thousands 
of souls. Whenever I hear it sung it 
strengthens my faith, fires my hope and 
feeds my love. 

Saviour, more than life to me, 
I am clinging, clinging close to Thee ; 
Let Thy precious blood applied 
Keep me ever near Thy side. 

Every day, every hour, 

Let me feel Thy cleansing power ; 

May Thy tender love to me 

Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee. 

"I do not want you to think," con- 
tinued Aunt Fanny, "that while I love 
my own songs and want them to be use- 
ful that I disregard the hymns of the 
great writers of the Church. Many of 
them are engraven on my memory. I 

My Living Hymns 81 

would go short of a meal any time to 
hear the lines of Charles Wesley, or 
Cowper, Watts, Montgomery, Bonar, 
Keble, Newton, Toplady, Heber, and 
Faber. This last author has written my 
favourite hymn : 

11 l Faith of our fathers living still 

In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword : 

O how our hearts beat high with joy 
Whene'er we hear that glorious word ! 

Faith of our fathers ! holy faith ! 
We will be true to thee till death ! ' 

" There is a great hymn written by a 
minister in Scotland,'* added Fanny, 
" whose name is George Matheson. He 
has written many wonderful books ; but 
it is his verse that attracts me most. 
Some of his poems are really fine, while 
1 O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go ' is a 
really great hymn. After it was first read 
to me I was informed that its author was 
a blind man. I made up my mind to learn 
it by heart. It is truly a great hymn. 

82 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

" ■ O Love that wilt not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in thee ; 
I give thee back the life I owe, 
That in thine ocean depths its flow 
May richer, fuller be. 
* * * # 

" * O Cross that liftest up my head, 
I dare not ask to fly from thee ; 
I lay in dust life's glory dead, 
And from the ground there blossoms red 
Life that shall endless be.' " 

Here the lunch bell rang and Aunt 
Fanny tripped down-stairs as nimbly as 
a girl in her teens blithely singing : 

Saviour, more than life to me, 

I am clinging, clinging close to Thee. 

Up to the time when Aunt Fanny Crosby 
last visited my home, in her ninety-third 
year, she had written and had been paid 
for, by The Biglow & Main Co., five 
thousand nine hundred hymns. Mr. 
Hubert P. Main estimates that she has 
written for other publishers and friends 
two thousand seven hundred more, in ad- 

Two Famous Hymn-Makers 
Fanny Crosby and Ira D. Sankey 

My Living Hymns 83 

dition to secular poems. There is no doubt 
that altogether her hymns and poems 
total over eight thousand. While many 
of them may not be considered great, yet 
the majority have a mission of faith, of 
hope and love. In all probability not 
another person who ever lived has written 
so many sacred songs. 

Their popularity has been unbounded. 
All over this broad land, as in countries 
across the seas, sweet-voiced singers have 
carried Fanny Crosby's gospel message 
in song. Moreover her lines have been 
sung by tens of thousands of believers 
never privileged to see in the flesh either 
the blind hymn- writer or the men who 
sang her verses all over two hemispheres. 
Some of these have gone, like Aunt 
Fanny, to sing a higher, nobler strain. 
Conspicuous among these stands the 
name of Ira D. Sankey. It is not easy, 
if indeed at all possible at this late date, 
to write anything fresh about the man 

84 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

whose name English-speaking people 
everywhere remember and revere. Un- 
der his singing of Fanny Crosby's hymns 
tens of thousands were brought to God. 
These hymns are sung to-day all over 
the wide world, and men and women 
catch anew their fervour and their power. 
Their message has gone forth in the 
earth, and from their proclamation has 
come help, solace and peace. 


Some Stories of My Songs 

Pass me not, gentle Saviour, 

Hear my humble cry ; 
While on others Thou art smiling, 

Do not pass me by. 

Saviour, Saviour, 

Hear my humble cry, 

While on others Thou art calling, 
Do not pass me by. 

Let me at a throne of mercy 

Find a sweet relief; 
Kneeling there in deep contrition, 

Help my unbelief. 

Trusting only in Thy merit, 

Would I seek Thy face ; 
Heal my wounded, broken spirit, 

Save me by Thy grace. 

Thou the Spring of all my comfort, 

More than life to me, 
Whom have I on earth beside Thee ? 

Whom in heaven but Thee ? 

[ 1868 ] 



" I think that life is not too long, 
And therefore I determine 
That many people read a song 
Who will not read a sermon." 

** TT^X O you know that gentleman 
I who has just left me?" asked 
Aunt Fanny. 

" Slightly," I replied. 

" Well, sit down," she continued ; 
11 there are fifteen minutes before the 
train leaves. I want to tell you what 
he has told me." 

Some mutual friends had brought Aunt 
Fanny from Orange to Newark, and I 
was meeting her at the Pennsylvania 
Station. On my arrival I found her in 
conversation with a successful Christian 
business man of that city. 

88 Fanny Crosbfs Own Story 

" * I am so pleased to see you,' this man 
said, ' for I have not met you since you 
were in England with Moody and Sankey.' 
He would hardly believe me when I told 
him I had never crossed the Atlantic. 
1 Well,' he insisted, ■ if I didn't see you, I 
saw your spirit in your songs. In those 
days I was a young business man of good 
parents living in Leeds, Yorkshire. I took 
to drinking, and was going down fast, 
when I went to one of the Moody and 
Sankey Meetings and heard them sing, 
"Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour." I 
said in my heart, "I wish He would not 
pass me by." I went to the next night's 
meeting and the service began with the 
same hymn. I could resist no longer. 
There and then I fully surrendered my 
life to God. The next year I came to 
America, began business in this city, and 
have been successful. That is forty years 
ago. It is my custom to carry a copy of 
your hymn with me every day.' He bade 

Some Stories of My Songs 89 

me good-bye and before he went away 
placed this in my hand." 

It was a bank note for twenty dollars. 

On the train Fanny told me this story : 
" When in Orange I met a returned 
missionary who told me that many of my 
hymns were translated into the Chinese 
and Japanese languages, and that on one 
occasion, while he was visiting a mis- 
sionary school in Korea, he met a little 
girl who was blind, whose name was 
Fanny. They called her ' Little Blind 
Fanny Crosby.' People often came a 
hundred and fifty miles to hear little 
blind Fanny sing, 

" Praise Him, praise Him, Jesus our Blessed 
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim. 

" It was wonderful. He told me also 
that they knew * Safe in the Arms of 
Jesus,' ■ Blessed Assurance,' ' Rescue the 
Perishing ' and ' Pass Me Not ' in foreign- 
mission lands as well as in this country. 

90 Fanny Crosby y s Own Story 

The last song that he heard in Korea 
was ' Saved by Grace,' sung by little 
blind Fanny." 

In September, 1907, Aunt Fanny was 
resting at our home, when a lady called 
and asked to see Miss Crosby, the great 
hymn- writer. This visitor remained fully 
two hours. When she went away I 
joined Aunt Fanny, who said, " Sit down. 
1 have a wonderful story to tell you. 
That lady was born in the same town as 
Frances Ridley Havergal, in England, and 
knew her very well. I recited for her 
some of the lines that were sent me by 
the English poetess : 

" l Dear blind sister over the sea, 

An English heart goes forth to thee. 

We are linked by a cable of faith and song, 
Flashing bright sympathy swift along ; 

One in the East and one in the West, 

Singing for Him whom our souls love best.' 

" My visitor told me she did not come 
to see me for herself alone, but to tell me 

Some Stories of My Songs 91 

the story of her dear boy Will, who went 
home to God two years ago. * He was a 
sweet church chorister,' she said, ' became 
ill, was taken to the hospital and in two 
weeks returned — a hopeless case. He 
loved your hymns and was constantly 
singing them in the hospital, and several 
of the patients confessed Christ through 
his singing " Blessed Assurance." He al- 
ways had a Moody and Sankey book by 
his bedside. The evening on which he 
died was one of those charming English 
twilights. Will had felt better all day 
and the doctor encouraged us. I was 
alone in the house, when I heard the 
sound of his cane on the floor. On 
reaching his bedside he said, " Mother, 
dear, don't leave me. Give me my 
hymn-book. I want to sing, ' Safe in the 
arms of Jesus.' " When he reached the 
line " Hark 'tis the voice of angels," my 
dear boy dropped the book and his face 
was illumined as he said " Ma, there are 

92 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

the angels. There are the fields of glory. 
There is the jasper sea." And then he 
passed out to be with them and his Lord 
forever more.* " 

At an evening service of that day Aunt 
Fanny told many stories of her hymn- 
writing which made a deep impression 
upon her audience. " One of these/' she 
said, " was sent me from a newspaper. I 
have also heard Mr. Sankey tell the story. 
' The congregation of Christ Protestant 
Episcopal Church, Union Avenue, Alle- 
gheny, was startled yesterday by a sen- 
sational supplement to the morning serv- 
ice. The church was well rilled, and 
devout worshippers responded to the 
service as read by the rector, Dr. Robert 
Meech. The reading had been concluded, 
and the rector was about to make the 
usual announcements of future services 
when an incident occurred such as old 
Christ Church had never dreamed of. 
Out of the usual line in a church of this 

Some Stories of My Songs 93 

denomination, it was nevertheless marked 
in its effect, and will never be forgotten 
by those present. 

" ' In the fourth pew from the front aisle 
of the church sat a neatly-dressed woman 
of intellectual face, apparently about thirty 
years of age. Her presence as a stranger 
had been noticed by many, and her deep, 
tearful interest in the service had been 
quietly commented on by those who oc- 
cupied the adjoining pews. At the point 
mentioned she rose to her feet, and, 
struggling with emotion, began to speak. 
The startled congregation was all atten- 
tion, and she was allowed to proceed. 
Rapidly and eloquently she told of her 
going out from the church and of her re- 
turn to it. In graphic words she painted 
the hideousness of sin and the joys of a 
pure life, and as she spoke men ancf 
women either gave way to their emo- 
tions or listened breathlessly. 

"'"I was christened in this church, * 

94 Fanny Crosby 's Own Story 

she said, " and attended Sunday-school in 
the basement when Dr. Paige was rector. 
My mother was a devout member here, 
and taught me the right way. At the 
age of fifteen I deserted my home and 
married an actor. For a number of years 
I followed the stage as a profession, lead- 
ing such a life as naturally accompanies 
it. In dramatic circles, in variety busi- 
ness, and in the circus, I spent those 
godless years. 

" ' " About two years ago I was in the 
city of Chicago. One afternoon I was 
on my way to Ferris Wheel Park to 
spend the afternoon in revelry, when I 
happened on an open-air meeting which 
the Epworth League of Grace Methodist 
Episcopal Church was conducting on 
North Park Street. I stopped through 
curiosity, as I believed, to listen ; but I 
know now that God arrested my foot- 
steps there. They were singing 'Saved 
by Grace,' and the melody impressed 

Some Stories of My Songs 95 

me. Recollections of childhood days 
came trooping into my soul, and I re- 
membered that in all the years of my 
absence my mother, until her death nine 
years ago, had been praying for me. 

11 ' " I was converted and, falling on 
my knees on the curbstone, I asked my 
Father's pardon. Then and there I re- 
ceived it, and I left the place with a peace 
which has never forsaken me. I gave 
up my profession at once and have lived 
for His service ever since. I have been 
but a few days in this city. Last night I 
visited the Hope Mission, and the Lord 
told me I must come here and testify of 
what He has done for me. I have not 
been in this church for many years, but 
it seems only yesterday that I left it. I 
have been sitting in the pew directly 
opposite the one once occupied by my 
mother and I feel her presence to-day. I 
could not resist the impulse to give this tes- 
timony. The Lord Himself sent me here." 

96 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

" * The congregation was profoundly 
impressed. The rector descended from 
the chancel and, with tears in his eyes, ap- 
proached the speaker, bidding her God- 
speed. The service went on. At its 
conclusion many members of the con- 
gregation shook hands with the stranger 
and told of their impressions. A stranger 
might have imagined himself in a Meth- 
odist church, so intense was the feeling. 
The strange visitor departed with a sense 
of duty done. All she said was : "I feel 
that the Lord Jesus and mother have 
been here." ' " 

I whispered to Aunt Fanny that there 
were a number of railroad men in the 
congregation. She took the hint and 
addressed them : " The railroad men are 
* my boys.' I love every one of them and 
I must say a word to them ere I close. 
A great many years ago a very dear 
friend of mine had charge of a large 
number of railroad men in New York 

Some Stories of My Songs 97 

City. These men had to work seven days 
in the week, and it was agreed that the 
room where they waited for the trolleys 
should be fixed up, and each Sunday 
morning a service lasting one hour should 
be conducted in the interest of the con- 
ductors and drivers. Here in this dingy 
little room made cheerful with a bit of 
red carpet and a few flowers and plants, 
I began my work with the railroad boys. 
Many and many a time I have spoken 
for them in their Y. M. C. A. meetings 
and in their missions, and it has always 
cheered my heart when I have heard 
those strong men sing some of the hymns 
I have written." 

When we returned home that night 
Aunt Fanny related many instances sim- 
ilar to those set down in this chapter of 
how her hymns and gospel songs have 
been blessed to the hearts of men and 
women the wide world over. 

" God has given me a wonderful work 

98 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

to do," she said, "a work that has brought 
me untold blessing and great joy. When 
word is brought to me, as it is from time 
to time, of some wandering soul being 
brought back home through one of my 
hymns, my heart thrills with joy, and I 
give thanks to God for giving me a share 
in the glorious work of saving human 


My Teachers and Teaching 

All the way my Saviour leads me : 

What have I to ask beside ? 
Can I doubt His tender mercy 

Who through life has been my guide ? 
Heavenly faith, divinest comfort 

There by faith in Him to dwell ! 
For I know whate'er befall me, 

Jesus doeth all things well. 

All the way my Saviour leads me, 

Cheers each winding path I tread ; 
Gives me grace for every trial, 

Feeds me with the living bread ; 
Though my weary steps may falter, 

And my soul athirst may be, 
Gushing from the Rock before me, 

Lo, a spring of joy I see. 

All the way my Saviour leads me ; 

Oh, the fullness of His love ! 
Perfect rest to me is promised 

In my Father's house above ; 
When my spirit, clothed, immortal, 

Wings its flight to endless day, 
This my song through endless ages — • 

Jesus led me all the way. 



" If you devote your time to study you will 
avoid the irksomeness of life ; nor will you long 
for the approach of night, being tired of day ; nor 
will you be a burden to yourself, nor your society 
unsupportable to others." 

"* TT HAVE been interested in schools, 
teachers and teaching all of my 
life," said Aunt Fanny. " A teacher 
can easily inspire or depress a pupil. 
When I was a student some of my teach- 
ers did not understand me, and thereby 
were quite unable to give me what I 
needed." It was the close of a bright 
summer day. Aunt Fanny had been 
visiting the Seminary which has been 
located in our town along the banks 
of the Muskonetcong for fifty years. 
When she returned, she began to talk 


102 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

of her educational life. " My mother, 
grandmother and a dear old Quaker 
friend were among my first instructors," 
she continued. "I was eager for an edu- 
cation. I prayed daily to God that He 
would open the way for me to get with 
those who were able to instruct me in the 
higher branches of learning. When my 
mother told me that I was to enter the 
Institution for the Blind in New York 
City, I clapped my hands and said, 
'Thank God, He has answered my 
prayer.' While I loved my home and 
mother, I was ready and willing to go 
away in order to be educated. On the 
3d of March, 1835, 1 came to Norwalk by 
stage, and then by boat to New York 
City. A few days were spent with my 
friends, after which they took me to the 
Institution. That night I went to my 
bed with a heavy heart. At breakfast 
next morning Superintendent Russ came 
to me and in the kindest way cheered 

My Teachers and Teaching 103 

my drooping heart by instructing me in 
the Scriptures and reading to me some 

" I soon felt at home, and was delighted 
to hear my teachers read the best poetry. 
There were both boys and girls in the 
Institution, and some of the teachers 
were distrustful of them. I said to one 
of those watch-dog teachers one day : 
'Trust the boys and girls, and they won't 
deceive you. All the pupils hate a tattle 
tale teacher/ 

" There were certain studies that I trulj 
loved. I was wrapped up in them. But 
I hated mathematics. I had no faculty 
for it, and the teachers excused me. They 
were wise in this, for it was not a bit of 
use seeking to force arithmetic on me. 
Once I was both helped and hurt by my 
teacher, who requested to see me at his 
office. I was elated, thinking he was to 
commend my work, but to my surprise 
he talked out of his heart to me concern- 

io4 Fanny Crosby 's Own Story 

ing people who were flattering my poetry, 
and warned me with the words : ' A flat- 
tering mouth worketh ruin.' I had been 
thinking that I was a real poetess, but this 
kind man showed me wherein my work 
was weak. I was hurt, but I was also 
helped. After thanking him, I said, ' You 
have been as a father to me.' From this 
lesson I learned the best method of deal- 
ing with pupils in after days. If I de- 
sired to do the most for them, it was best 
achieved by never correcting them in the 
presence of others. 

"As a pupil and instructor I remained 
in this Institution for twenty-three years. 
I was schooled in the best there was in 
music, art, and literature. When I be- 
gan to teach, my mind was clearly made 
up what not to do, so I became a favourite 
with my pupils. I considered their gifts, 
and sought to bring out the best that 
they were capable of doing. For ninety- 
three years I have kept up with the 

My Teachers and Teaching 105 

growth of our school life, and have my 
personal opinions concerning teaching 
and teachers. My own view is that 
much of our public school work to-day is 
too shallow. The pupils are required to 
go over so many things that many of 
them are incompetent to do one thing 
well. A young man from a high school 
came to spend an evening with me some 
time since, and I asked him to read 
Kipling's ■ Recessional.' When he came 
to the words : 

" ' For heathen heart that puts its trust 
In reeking tube and iron shard,' 

he was truly confused. Our high school 
pupils ought at least to be able to read 
correctly. In the days when I was a girl 
we mastered thoroughly one subject. I 
was able to recite the grammar from be- 
ginning to end. I feel our great need is 
to train teachers not to get merely so 
much money, and fill in so many hours a 

106 Fanny Crosby 's Own Story 

^^»— ^— 

year, but to develop in the young Ameri- 
can thoroughness and personality. 

" Have you studied the life of Helen 
Keller ? " I told her I had. Also that I 
had spent an hour with her, had read all 
her books, and had talked with her 
teacher. When she knew this, Aunt 
Fanny was willing to stay up all night to 
hear of my experience with Miss Keller. 
I brought her the books Helen Keller had 
written, and placed them in her lap. As 
she took up one by one, "The Story of 
My Life," " The World I Live In," " Out 
of the Dark," and a little volume on 
" Optimism," Aunt Fanny exclaimed, " Is 
it possible that one with so many draw- 
backs has done so much ? She puts us 
all to shame. Truly her teacher is a 
genius in industry." 

The Seminary clock struck twelve 
as I read from the essay on " Optimism." 
When I came to the passage, " I am a 
citizen of the world, I see a brighter 

My Teachers and Teaching 107 

spiritual era ... in which there shall 
be no England, no France, no Germany- 
no America, but one family, the human 
race ; one law, peace ; one need, harmony ; 
one means, labour; one taskmaster, God," 
Aunt Fanny sprang from her seat, 
clapped her hands, and said : " Wonder- 
ful vision. She is a Deborah. 

" I met her first years ago, and have an 
engagement to be with her in New York 
City in the coming fall. In my quiet 
hours I feel the influence of her teacher- 
spirit. She is one of the greatest gifts 
to this age. The way in which the 
apparently impossible has been achieved 
in her case is wonderful to think of. 
Shut up in the dark from all the beau- 
tiful things other people depend so 
much upon for the pleasures of life, she 
has managed not only to keep happy 
but to fling sunshine all about her and 
to bless others in an exceptional and beau- 
tiful way. Hers is a splendid triumph 

108 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

over adversity — the triumph of a victori- 
ous spirit." 

Aunt Fanny took Helen Keller's four 
volumes with her to her bedroom that 
night and the next morning recited to me 
these lines : 

There is a chain that links my soul to thine, 
I may not clasp thy gentle hand in mine, 
And yet in thought each other we may meet, 
And spend this day in converse pure and sweet. 

I met thee once. 'Twas many years ago, 
And yet its memories like a fountain flow ; 
I hear thy voice, as then its tones I heard, 
And fond affection clings to every word. 

God keep thee still beneath His watching care, 
And strew thy path with buds and blossoms 

When other hearts their tribute bring to thee, 
Oh, may I ask that mine received may be. 


My Notable Preachers 

Blessed day when pure devotions 
Rise to God on wings of love ; 

When we catch the distant music 
Of the angel choirs above. 

Blessed day, when bells are calling 
Weary souls from earthly care, 

And we come, with hearts uplifted, 
To the holy place of prayer. 

Blessed day, so calm and restful, 
Bringing joy and peace to all, 

Linger yet in tranquil beauty, 
Ere the shades of evening fall. 

Blessed day, thy light is fading ; 

One by one its beams depart ; 
May their calm and sweet reflection 

Still abide in every heart. 

[ 18H ] 



" The best preacher is the heart : 
The best teacher is time ; 
The best book is the world : 
The best friend is God." 

* r I ^O tell you of all the notable 
preachers I have known would 
fill a great volume," said Aunt 
Fanny. We were travelling together 
from Bridgeport, Conn., to Amboy, New 
Jersey. I had gone to the New England 
town to bring Aunt Fanny to my home, 
and during the journey I asked her for 
some impressions of the great men of the 
pulpit which during her long life she had 
been privileged both to hear and meet. 

" In Bridgeport I have heard some of 
the ablest men this country has pro- 
duced," she said. " About twenty-six 

112 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

years ago Randolph S. Foster, Bishop 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
preached one of the most masterly 
sermons that I have ever heard from 
the text : * When I consider Thy heavens, 
the work of Thy ringers, the moon and 
the stars which Thou hast ordained ; 
What is man that Thou art mindful of 
him? and the son of man that Thou 
visitest him?' If there is a third heaven 
I was there that Sunday morning while 
listening to that saintly man. He was 
small of stature, but of a wonderful mind. 
I heard him several times after that, but 
to me he never equalled that occasion. I 
shall bear the message with me into 

" On another occasion I heard Dr. J. 
O. Peck in the same church. His speech 
impressed me with the thought that he 
was truly a master workman. He had a 
body like Washington, and a voice like 
a trumpet. There is one story he told 

My Notable Preachers 113 

I shall never forget. He was showing 
the value of individual Christian steward- 
ship, and said, ' There was once a man 
who made a profession of the Christian 
religion to whom his pastor sought to 
show the value of benevolence to his 
own life. But he replied, "The dying 
thief was converted and went direct to 
heaven, and he never gave anything 
towards the heathen nor the expenses of 
the church." Then the minister asked 
him if he would permit him to dis- 
tinguish between him and the dying 
thief. The poor fellow gave his consent 
and the minister said, " The man on the 
cross was a dying thief, but you are a 
living thief I '" " 

Aunt Fanny's voice rang with laughter 
as she told this story. 

" I think / have a story as good as 
that on Christian giving, ,, she said. " I 
always believe in and carry out in my 
life the command which runs, * Honour 

ii4 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

the Lord with thy substance and first 
fruits of thy increase, so shall thy barns 
be filled with plenty and thy presses shall 
burst out new wine.* A young minister 
friend of mine once went up to a quiet 
New England town to spend his vacation 
with his little boy. The father had given 
close attention to the training of his 
only son. They were really companions. 
The mother had been taken to the Better 
Land when the boy was born. The 
preacher had not been in town a week 
before a deacon of the church came and 
requested him to preach on Sunday 
morning, as the man engaged had dis- 
appointed them. After some talk with 
the farmer- deacon the minister consented. 
It was a lovely Sunday as the preacher 
and his son wound 'round the 'Pine 
Path.' He preached a sermon that had 
in it the idea of race improvement. The 
people listened well. The service ended 
without an offering being taken, and it 

My Notable Preachers 115 

had been the custom of this minister 
never to appear in the sanctuary without 
bringing an offering to the Lord. So as 
he left the church he placed a fifty-cent 
piece in the box by the door and went 
down the winding ' Pine Path/ In a few 
seconds he heard a voice and turning he 
saw the deacon hastening towards him, 
who placed in his hand a fifty-cent piece, 
saying, * It is our custom up here to pre- 
sent the preacher with whatever we find in 
me offering boxes for his services/ Then 
me minister's little boy looked up into 
his father's face and said, * Papa, if you 
had given more you would have gotten 
more, wouldn't you ? ' " 

We had now reached Stamford and as 
Fanny heard the name of the town she 
said, "I remember well the time when 
Dr. James M. Buckley, that statesman of 
Methodism, stood for righteousness like a 
bulwark in this city. Often have I heard 
him in Brooklyn with pleasure and profit 

u6 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

and to-day I love to hear read what he 
writes. Chaplain McCabe was a live 
coal from heaven. His singing thrilled 
my soul. I think he has influenced more 
people by his songs than any minister of 
his day. It has been my pleasure often 
to converse with him and to receive his 

"Bishop Thomas Bowman (who I 
think was born in the same year as my- 
self) was truly an apostle of power. 
Bishop Edward Andrews was a statesman 
worthy of his position. I regard him as 
one of the sanest and safest Christian 
gentlemen I have ever known. Some- 
times it took quite a while for him to 
get going, but he always gave you some- 
thing worth listening to. John P. New- 
man charmed my soul with his oratorical 
flights. John Fletcher Hurst has made 
for himself a great name in the church of 
which he was a bishop. He was a scholar 
and a cultured Christian gentleman. I 

My Notable Preachers 117 

consider him the first writer in Methodism 
on church history. Bishop Brooks I re- 
vered. He was the big man of the Epis- 
copalian Church. The greatest lecture it 
has been my privilege to hear was one 
delivered by Bishop Charles H. Fowler 
on Lincoln. It is beyond my powers of 
description.' ' 

As we entered New York City Aunt 
Fanny remarked, " Here and in Brook- 
lyn I have heard some mighty men." 
We went down to the Jersey ferry in a 
hack, and as we crossed the North River 
she said, " All the big men that we have 
been talking about to-day rise before me 
like a dream. I have a whole garden full 
of them in my mind. Matthew Simpson 
I shall never forget. He showed me the 
beauties of the world that now is, and of 
that which is to come. Henry Ward 
Beecher, whom I knew well, was the 
greatest of pulpit orators of the nineteenth 
century, if not of any century. When 1 

n8 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

lived in Brooklyn he was bitterly perse- 
cuted, but like the Hebrew children he 
came out of the flames unhurt. Dr. Rich- 
ard Salter Storrs, one year younger than 
myself, was a man of lofty principles and 
purity of motive. His influence in the 
city was salient. Dr. John Hall of the 
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in 
New York was a dear friend of mine. 
His sermons were rich in thought and 
helpful in spirit. Dr. Howard Crosby 
was a scholarly preacher. I never went 
to hear him without feeling I was richly 

" Two ministers, who lived in Brooklyn 
during my residence there, bore names 
precious to me — Dr. Behrends and Dr. 
Cuyler. Dr. Behrends, of the Central 
Congregational Church, was a safe 
man in the pulpit and out of it. He 
built firmly on the foundation of God 
which standeth sure. But the great pas- 
tor was Theodore L. Cuyler. For thirty 

My Notable Preachers 119 

years he was a most successful pastor 
of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian 
Church, and I highly value his books, 
'God's Light On Dark Clouds,' 'Chris- 
tianity In the Home,' and ■ How to Be a 
Pastor.' Though not as eloquent as 
some Brooklyn divines, none were more 
respected or useful than Dr. Cuyler. If 
you desire to be a prince among pastors 
read and follow Theodore L. Cuyler." 

The ferry-boat entered the slip with a 
bang. " Be careful, Captain," said Aunt 
Fanny, "you have precious freight 
aboard." Our hackman listened to his 
passenger with close attention, and when 
I informed him that she was Fanny 
Crosby, who had written " Safe in the 
Arms of Jesus," he took off his hat and 
wept. He called a policeman and said, 
" This is Miss Fanny Crosby, who wrote 
' Safe in the Arms of Jesus.' I want you 
to help this young man to get her safely 
to the train." 

120 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

" I sure will," said the policeman. Then 
quite sadly he added, " We sang that 
hymn at my little girl's funeral last week." 

Aunt Fanny took the policeman's arm 
and said, " I call all the policemen and 
railroad men * my boys/ They take such 
good care of me wherever I go." The 
officer assisted her with greatest care and 
as she took her seat in the train she said 
to him, "God bless your dear heart. 
You shall have my prayers. Tell your 
dear wife that your little daughter is safe 
in the arms of Jesus." The great strong 
policeman turned away wiping the tears 
from his eyes. 

For half an hour after the train pulled 
out of the station Aunt Fanny was silent 
as if asleep. Then she roused herself and 
said, " I have been thinking about you. 
You are a young minister of God. The 
notables of whom I have spoken have 
brought much sunshine into my life. 
Live close to their example and you will 

My Notable Preachers 121 

not live in vain. The mission of a min- 
ister is matchless. You never have to 
apologize for your message. Be careful 
and guard against fads, cranks and 
schisms; for these have done more real 
harm to the growth of the Kingdom of 
God among men than anything else I 
have known. Once a man came into a 
meeting at which I was present and after 
having listened to a stirring address on 
foreign missions stood up and said with 
a nasal whine : ' Talk about foreign mis- 
sions ! Why, there is plenty of work to 
do at home. Go down on the streets of 
our city and see our boys and young 
men. Go to church and see forty bon- 
nets to one bald pate. It's time, broth- 
ers and sisters, that we went to work at 
home ; and if you don't look out, broth- 
ers and sisters, there will not be men 
enough in heaven to sin£ bass.' " 

By this time the tra ; n had reached Am- 
boy. I took Aunt Fanny down along the 

122 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

" Bluff " in an auto where she could catch 
a whiff of sea breeze, hear the splash of 
the waves, look out towards the open sea 
and feel upon her face the glow of the 
sunset that was kissing the billows into 
golden splendour away out towards 
Sandy Hook. Such an experience she 
specially enjoyed. She seemed always 
to be communing with the tumbling 
waters, and to be answering in her heart 
little Paul Dombey's question : " What 
are the wild waves saying?" To Fanny 
Crosby they were ever telling of God's 
goodness, of a Heavenly Father's care. 


Making the Best of Everything 

Sing with a tuneful spirit, 

Sing with a cheerful lay, 
Praise to thy great Creator, 

While on the pilgrim way. 
Sing when the birds are waking, 

Sing with the morning light ; 
Sing in the noontide's golden beam 

Sing in the hush of night. 

Sing when the heart is troubled, 

Sing when the hours are long, 
Sing when the storm-cloud gathers' 

Sweet is the voice of song. 
Sing when the sky is darkest, 

Sing when the thunders roll ; 
Sing of the land where rest remains^ 

Rest for the weary soul. 

Sing in the vale of shadows, 

Sing in the hour of death, 
And, when the eyes are closing, 

Sing with the latest breath. 
Sing till the heart's deep longings 

Cease on the other shore ; 
Then, with the countless numbers there 

Sing on forever more. 



" joy that seekest me through pain, 
I cannot close my heart to thee ; 
I trace the rainbow through the rain, 
And feel the promise is not vain 
That morn shall tearless be." 

u "W "^T TELL, it might have been 
^/^/ worse," said Aunt Fanny. 
" No one was drowned. I 
have long since learned that * what can't 
be cured must be endured.' Some days 
are good, some days are ill. But it 
never pays to murmur, and it is useless 
to worry." 

It was the morning after a severe 
storm. Before bedtime, the night be- 
fore, the winds had begun to howl and 
the incoming tide played havoc with the 
docks, bridges and boats. At daybreak 
it looked as if a great, cruel hand had 


i 26 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

been tearing things to shivers. I de- 
scribed the wake of the storm to Aunt 
Fanny, and this was her reply. 

" Yes," she went on, " years ago I 
made up my mind to make the best of 
everything. I was brought to this de- 
cision by hearing my old friend, Dr. 
Deems, recite : 

" 'Dear friend, 

The world is wide 
In time and tide 
And God is guide ; 

Then do not hurry. 
That man is blest 
Who does his best 
And leaves the rest ; 
Then do not worry.' 

" In my quiet moments I say to my- 
self, ' Fanny, there are many worse things 
than blindness that might have happened 
to you. The loss of the mind is a thou- 
sand times worse than the loss of the 
eyes.' Then I might have been speech- 
less and deaf. I do not know, but on 

The Best of Everything 127 

the whole it has been a good thing that I 
have been blind. How in the world 
could I have lived such a helpful life as I 
have lived had I not been blind ? I am 
very well satisfied. I never let anything 
trouble me, and to my implicit faith, and 
to my implicit trust in my heavenly 
Father's goodness, I attribute my good 
health and long life. If I didn't get the 
thing I wanted one day, well, I'd usually 
get it the next. If not then, well, I 
realized that it wasn't good for me to 
have it at all. In the case of my loss of 
sight I can see how the Lord permitted 
it. He didn't order it ; He permitted it. 
I have heard my heavenly Father say : 
1 What I do thou knowest not now, but 
thou shalt know hereafter,' and for my 
consolation I repeat: 

" ■ His purposes will ripen fast, 
Unfolding every hour ; 
The bud may have a bitter taste, 
But sweet will be the flower.' 

128 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

" During my long life I have had many 
a hard struggle, with bread to provide 
and rent to pay, but I never lost faith in 
the promise, * Thy bread shall be given, 
and thy water sure.' My constant peti- 
tion was, * Give me neither poverty nor 
riches.' This prayer has been answered, 
and for the past sixteen years my old 
publishers, The Biglow & Main Co. have, 
in consideration of my many years of as- 
sociation with them, granted me a regu- 
lar allowance. 

" Here we are to-day; the rain is pour- 
ing down, the wind is whistling, the day 
is chilly, yet I am as happy as a lark. He 
who takes care of the sparrow will never 
forget Aunt Fanny. 'To-morrow the 
sun will be shining, although it is gloomy 
to-day.' It's worth a thousand dollars a 
year to look on the bright side of things. 
Many a storm has beaten on this old 
bark of mine, but I always enter the 
harbour singing : 

The Best of Everything 129 
i f 

" * God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform, 
He plants His footsteps on the sea 
And rides upon the storm. 

" 'Blind unbelief is sure to err, 
And scan His works in vain. 
God is His own interpreter, 
And He will make it plain.' 

" I carefully studied history, philosophy 
and science," Aunt Fanny continued, 
"and was often perplexed about sin in 
the world. For a long time it was a 
problem I was unable to solve. I thought 
about it, dreamed about it, and saw no 
use for it. Finally I reached the con- 
clusion that this was the best world order 
that could be conceived, and that if 
people were in the world without any- 
thing to contend with, they would speedily 
become pygmies. So I stopped troubling 
about it, and made every endeavour to 
conquer and make the best of it. 

"The sufferings of life caused me no 

130 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

little anxiety. Just as last night's storm 
banged the boats, the wharfs, and the nets, 
so sickness comes, and tears things apart. 
While thinking over this I was consoled 
by reading, * He whom thou lovest is 
sick.' Then I said, ' Suffering is no 
argument of God's displeasure.' It is a 
part of the fibre of our lives. So I settled 
that question and made the best of it. 

" When sorrows came to myself and to 
my friends, it almost made my hear! 
bleed, and I asked myself why I should 
go thus sorrowing ? In looking a little 
deeper I found sorrow to be one of the 
threads in the skein of life that must be 
woven in the warp and woof of existence, 
and that the things that were too wonder- 
ful for me to fathom I must leave in the 
hands of Him who is able to sustain 
under all circumstances. It was while 
thinking along these lines that I also 
thought of some lines I wrote away back 
in the seventies : 

Fast Friends for Fifty Years: 
Fanny J. Crosby and Hubert P. Main 

The Best of Everything 131 

Never be sad or desponding, 

If thou hast faith to believe ; 

Grace for the duties before thee, 

Ask of thy God and receive. 

Never be sad or desponding, 

There is a morrow for thee, 

Soon thou shalt dwell in the brightness, 

There with the Lord thou shalt be. 

" Half a lifetime has passed since I 
wrote those lines, and a thousand and 
one experiences have been mine in the 
years that lie between. But nothing has 
happened or threatened which could have 
warranted my altering a single syllable or 
thought they contain. In sunshine and 
shadow, in sickness and in health, through 
every step of the journey, God has given 
grace and glory. There is nothing sur- 
prising in this. It is according to His 
promise, 'And no good thing will He 
withhold from them that walk uprightly.' 
This I have always tried to do, my 
Saviour helping me, and God has looked 
after the fulfillment of His part of the 

132 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

promise. For me, life has been short of 
many things that some people would 
probably rather die than be without. 
That is their misfortune — not mine. It 
is not the things I've missed, or never 
had, which make me sorrowful. It is 
the things I have had in full measure 
in which I rejoice daily. That's how 
I feel to-day, and it was in the same spirit 
that I wrote the lines which have been 
proved abundantly true in my own life 
and work : 

God will take care of you, be not afraid, 
He is your safeguard through sunshine and 

shade ; 
Tenderly watching, and keeping His own, 
He will not leave you to wander alone." 


My Love For Children 

They are buds of hope and promise 

Blessed by Him whose Name is Love 
Lent us here to train and nourish 

For a better life above ; 
Tender plants by angels guarded, 

Clinging vines the children are ; 
Jewels in our hearts to glisten, 

Precious treasures, O how fair ! 

I have heard the children singing 

When my heart was lone and sad ; 
I have heard them in the distance 

And their music made me glad. 
But their voices cheer and charm me 

In the Sabbath homes they love ; 
And I think they will be sweetest 

In the saintly choirs above. 


11 Ah, what would the world be to us 
If the children were no more ? 
We should dread the desert behind us 
Worse than the dark before." 

" "¥~"\ LEASE, Aunt Fanny, will you 
\r*^ tell us a story ? " 

We were gathered under an 
old apple tree in the merry month of 
June. A children's party had been ar- 
ranged for the blind singer and a dozen 
children were sitting around her. She 
was a true child among them. Together 
they played games, recited pieces and 
sang many of Fanny's hymns. Then 
one of the youngsters asked her for a 
story. " Bless your dear heart," she re- 
plied. " Of course I will. I have lots of 
them stored away for children." Then 

136 Fanny Crosby V Own Story 

she began : " A certain man had two 
children, a boy and girl. The lad was a 
handsome young fellow enough, but the 
girl was as plain as a girl could be, and, 
provoked beyond endurance by the way 
her brother looked in the glass and made 
remarks to her disadvantage, she went to 
her father and complained of it. The 
father drew his children to him very 
tenderly. ■ My dears,' he said, ' I wish 
you both to look in the glass every day. 
You, my son, so that, seeing your face is 
handsome, may take care not to spoil it 
by ill-temper and bad behaviour ; and 
you, my daughter, that you may be en- 
couraged to make up for your want 
of beauty by the sweetness of your 
manners and the grace of your con- 
versation.' " 

The children looked gravely at each 
other, and then one said, "Tell us an- 
other, Aunt Fanny." She smiled as 
she drew a little book of four pages from 

My Love for Children 137 

her bag. Turning the first page towards 
the children she asked them its colour. 
They all shouted, " Black." 

" Well," said Aunt Fanny, " that repre- 
sents sin. I want you to remember that 
sin ruins the sinner. Sin is always black. 
It is the transgression of the law. What 
is this colour? " 

" Red," was the ready reply. 

" Yes, red. And red is for blood, and 
I want you ever to remember that you 
are redeemed by the precious blood of 
Christ. ( Unto Him who hath loved us 
and hath washed us from our sins in His 
own blood, unto Him be honour and 
praise forever.' The next page, you see, 
is white. That is for right. Dare to do 
right. Dare to be true. You have heard 
the verse which runs : 

" ' Dare to be a Daniel, 
Dare to stand alone, 
Dare to have a purpose firm 
And dare to make it known.' 

138 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

The last page is gold. It stands for 
glory. He will give you grace and glory, 
all along your pilgrim way. Then this 
golden colour represents the celestial 
city, with its streets of pure gold." Here 
she paused and bowed her head for a 
moment. Then she went on : " Dear 
children, I had a little sister once with 
whom I loved to play, but God's good 
angel came down and took her to our 
Father's heavenly home and when she 
went I wrote these lines : 

She's gone, ah, yes, her lovely form 

Too soon has ceased to bloom, 
ftji emblem of a fragile flower, 

That blossoms for the tomb. 
She's gone, yet why should we repine, 

Our darling is at rest ; 
Her cherub spirit now reclines 

Upon her Saviour's breast." 

Aunt Fanny drank her cup of tea with 
the children and then she said, " Before 
we go I will recite you some verses of a 
poem of mine, written after a person had 


My Love for Children 139 

asked me if I loved children. I love 
you, dear children, with all my heart and 
soul, and would rather be driven out 
from among men than to be disliked by 
children : 

Love the children ? What a question ! 

Cold indeed the heart must be 
That can turn without emotion 

From their laughter gushing free. 
Yes, with all my heart I love them ; 

Bless the children every one ! 
I can be a child among them, 

And enjoy their freaks and fun. 
* * * * 

Love the children ? I can never, 

Never pass them in the street, 
But my every pulse awaking, 

Thrills with love to all I meet ; 
I have heard the children singing 

When my heart was lone and sad, 
I have heard them in the distance, 

And their music makes me glad." 

The children clung around Aunt Fanny 
as she entered the house, there to be 
greeted by the parents of the children 
at a reception given in her honour. 

140 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

" My dear friends," she said, " I am so 
happy to greet you to-day. I have had 
a lovely time with your children, and 1 
want now to recite some lines I have 
specially written for this occasion : 

Among the honoured guests to-day, 
Within this home, I'd gladly stay. 
I come, your many friends to see 
And take a social cup of tea. 

Your floral plan is just the thing, 
With eager joy its praises ring, 
And well they may, for too we trace 
Your handiwork in every place. 

Your dining-room arrayed with care, 
The summer daisies blooming there, 
Sweet daisies from the meadow green 
That add new beauty to the scene. 

But hark ! my signal calls away. 
I would but cannot longer stay. 
Beloved friends and patrons all 
I hope you'll soon return my call. 
Your daisy chain, your cup of tea 
Will in my heart remembered be." 


American Hearts and Homes 

* * * * * 

Though dreary and wild was that wave-girt shore, 

And cold was the wintry air, 
The voice of the tyrant was heard no more ; 

The angel of peace was there ; 
And a radiant gem from her crown she set 

In the path where the moonlight roams — 
A star that in glory is shining yet 

O'er American hearts and homes. 

O, that beacon of hope in the darkest hour 

That hung o'er oppression's night 
Was the guard of the brave; and they felt its 

As they looked on its steady light ; 
But o'er each link of the tyrant's chain 

The surge of old ocean foams, 
And Freedom the goddess that dwells and reigns 

In American hearts and homes. 

Let me die in the land where my native streams 

In their stately grandeur flow ; 
Where the tender smile of affection beams, 

And the skies in their beauty glow ; 
On the standard of Freedom my eyes would rest 

Ere my spirit heavenward roams ; 
I would give the last sigh of a faithful breast 

For American hearts and homes. 



"On the standard of Freedom my eyes would rest 
Ere my spirit heavenward roams ; 
I would give the last sigh of a faithful breast 
To American hearts and homes." 

" "I >OR eighty years I have watched 
ri the growth of the American 
home," said Aunt Fanny, "and 
there is nothing than concerns me more 
than the homes of our dear home land." 
We were in the cupola of our house, 
Fanny and I, where I had taken her after 
a good night's rest. It was shielded from 
the wind by a sea-view window, and I 
told her of the old church, built in Queen 
Anne's day, that could be seen from where 
we sat and which bore the marks of the 
Revolutionary guns. I told her also of 
the Governor's mansion, where Benjamin 
J 43 

144 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

Franklin remained overnight, and of the 
old families and homes of the town that 
was four days older than New York. 

" I have a poem, * American Hearts 
and Homes,' " said Aunt Fanny. "And I 
believe that no nation can rise above the 
level of its home life. In reading the 
spirit of the age I am somewhat afraid 
that we are breaking certain ties and per- 
mitting certain fires in the home life to 
die out which is a menace to our national 
life. Fine furniture, buildings and books 
alone never make a real permanent home. 
There must be the communion of souls. 
My home life was such that my days were 
guarded wheresoever I was. I was taught 
love, loyalty and reverence for my nation 
and all things good and true. I know it 
sounds fine to shout for the flag as the 
standard of our country, but to stand 
firmly by it in the time of danger is 

" Aunt Fanny," I said, " do you think 

Hearts and Homes 145 

that the home life of to-day is changed 
from that which obtained when you were 
growing up ? " 

" For many years I have watched the 
trend of the people," she answered, " and 
I really do think that the home ties do 
not bind as strongly as in my girlhood. 
Many attractions that were quite un- 
known in my early days are found in 
every city to-day. Clubs and society 
take up so much of a mother's spare 
time nowadays that there seems scarcely 
a moment in which to do the work that 
ought to be done in the home. It may 
appear a little old-fogeyish but I have firm 
convictions on this very vital question. 

" It is essential that both in home and 
state we should know the law of cause 
and effect. To turn a boat lose on yon- 
der sound to the mercy of wind and tide 
would, we know, result in a ruined craft 
And just as a boat needs a guiding hand, 
so the nation and the home needs some 

146 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

one at the helm or the winds and waves 
of the world will work havoc and dis- 

11 What do you think are the safest 
methods to adopt for home and country 
improvement ? " 

Aunt Fanny raised her head as if look- 
ing towards the sea and said, " A few 
nights ago I sat thinking over a better 
nation through a better home. The 
better the soil the richer the crop. The 
stronger the home the safer the state. 1 
said to myself, ' Fanny, if this home and 
nation is to endure it must be peaceful. 
Peace and harmony are the prominent, 
polished pillars of every home and nation. 
Discord has blighted more firesides and 
crushed more nations than any other 
internal foe. The price of peace must be 
paid, or the solid marble pillar will bena. 
Prosperity is the goodly child of peace.' " 

Aunt Fanny paused and taking a little 
New Testament from her bag continued 

Hearts and Homes 147 

" When I was a child this book had a 
practical place in both home and nation. 
During these many years my love for the 
Holy Bible has not waned. Its truth was 
not only born with me ; it was bred into 
my life. My mother and grandmother 
took pains that I knew the Bible better 
than any other book. All that I am and 
all that I ever expect to be in literature or 
life is due to the Bible. Well do I re- 
member learning that hymn of Charles 
Wesley : 

" ' When quiet in my house I sit, 

Thy book be my companion still \ 
My joy Thy sayings to repeat, 

Talk o'er the record of Thy will, 
And search the oracles divine, 
Till every heartfelt word is mine.' " 

I had just returned from the Burns 
country and told her of the cottage in 
which Scotland's greatest songster was 
born. I talked to her of Ayr, of Alloway 
Kirk and Dumfries. Then I read several 

148 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

of Burns' poems, finishing with " The 
Cotter's Saturday Night." This she re- 
quested me to read again. When I 
reached the line, " The priest-like father 
reads the sacred page," " That's what I 
mean," she broke in with, "the Book 
must be read by the father in the home. 
A Scotchman once told me that his 
country was greatly enriched from the 
use of the Scripture around the fireside. 
No Christian nation can be great which 
ignores the Sacred Book. Read me 
those lines, commencing * Then kneeling 

down ' over again," and her face 

gleamed as I did so. 

" Then kneeling down to heaven's eternal King, 
The saint, the father, and the husband prays. 

Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing, 
That thus they all shall meet in future days, 

There ever bask in uncreated rays." 

" I find in that verse," said Aunt Fanny, 
11 the strength of the nation and the home ; 
and I know that homes cannot exist long 

Hearts and Homes 149 

as permament places in uplifting the 
nation if heads of the families are prayer- 
less. Neither can the nation rise to its 
highest with prayerless Presidents. Our 
greatest Presidents have been men with 
unfaltering faith in prayer. The spirit in 
* The Cotter's Saturday Night ' must be 
carried out. ' They round the ingle, form 
a circle wide.' The people of the United 
States must know if the home fails the 
Church is shorn of its strength, the com- 
munity crumbles, the State is unstable, the 
nation doomed. I am an optimist, who 
through the light sees the danger point. 
If I could direct the reading of the home, 
I'd save the State. If I could select the 
friends that frequent the home, I would 
secure its future. If I could bring the un- 
seen Guest into the home and nation as 
suggested by Dean Alford, I should be 
happy. Nothing of education or culture 
or breeding can take the place of Christ 
in the home— of Jesus in the heart. His 

150 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

presence alone can prevent selfishness 
having dominion ; and where selfishness 
is true happiness can never be found. 
But with the influence of the Master 
dominant, all is well. 

" My bark is wafted to the strand, 
By breath divine, 
And on the helm there rests a hand 
Other than mine. 

11 One who was known in storms to sail, 
I have on board ; 
Above the roaring of the gale 
I hear my Lord." 

Just then the whistles blew, and the din- 
ner bell rang. As we went down to dine 
I felt I had been looking out of the sea- 
view window with one of the great women 
of our time. 


My Visit to Cambridge 

Cool from the wells of Elim, 

Softly the waters bright 
Under the waving palm-trees 

Smiled in the peaceful light ; 
There were the tents so goodly, 

There was a nation strong, 
Resting awhile by Elim's wells, 

Praising the Lord in song. 

* * sfc * 

Out of the rock from Horeb, 

Smote by a wondrous rod, 
Quickly the gushing waters 

Came at the voice of God ; 
They who athirst were pining 

They who rebelled before, 
Now with delight and wonder filled, 

Drank, and were glad once more 

Purer than wells of Elim, 

Under the palm-trees fair, 
Sweeter than Horeb' s waters 

Hailed by the fainting there — 
Lo, at the feet of mercy 

Fresh from the springs above, 
Jesus the living water gives, 

Bought with redeeming love a 

T 1888 ] 




" TT HAVE had the time of my life," 
said Aunt Fanny as she entered 
our home one day. She clapped 
her hands and continued, " I have been 
to Harvard, and everybody seemed to do 
everything they were able to do to make 
my stay there most delightful. 

" Just think. I am ninety-two years of 
age and have been sitting at the feet of 
the professors of Harvard College. I 
feel like a girl again. Truly I have 
drunk from the crystal streams of 
thought and knowledge. 

" Why should one cease to learn be- 
cause old age is creeping in upon him ? 
I am learning something new every day 
of my life. The wide world is my school- 
room. All nature is my teacher, ' and 
never too old to learn p my motto. 

154 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

" I suppose you are curious to know 
how I happened to visit Cambridge. 
Well, over thirty years ago I met a 
young Baptist preacher who was very 
much concerned in my work among the 
railroad men and among the outcast. 
His name was Campbell. He was a 
sturdy Scotch Canadian. I felt that he 
had in him great possibilities, and soon he 
was called to a large church in this edu- 
cational centre. You know a clergyman 
must continue to climb if he is to hold 
his own in the shadow of old Harvard. 
This he has done. For years I had lost 
sight of him, but now through some dear 
friends the door was thrown wide open 
for my visit. It had always been one 
of the great desires of my heart to visit 
Harvard and come if only for a brief 
space under the influence of that haunt 
of literary and educational power. 

" A drizzling cold rain, which would 
have chilled many at my age, was fall- 

My Visit to Cambridge 155 

ing but that did not discourage me in 
the least. We started with a song, 
'What care I for time or tide.' On 
the way to Boston I had four hours of 
the sweetest expectation possible. On 
reaching Back Bay Station, a taxi met 
us and the good Scotch minister took 
me up in his arms and landed me safely 
in a cushion seat, and before I could say 
' Jack Robinson ' I was at 300 Magazine 
Street, Cambridge. 

" Just as the evening meal was over, 
the door-bell rang, and a delegation 
from the Salvation Army entered with 
a request they be permitted to ac- 
company me to the church (where I 
was to speak) with a brass band and 
play some of my hymns. This request 
was readily granted and so the next 
evening they came with their instru- 
ments and played many of my songs 
in front of the manse. Then followed 
by hundreds of people I marched from 

156 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

the house to the church, to the music 
of ' Rescue the Perishing.' They told 
me that more than two thousand people 
were present. I spoke to them from my 
very heart of that wonderful story of 
Jesus Christ who came into this world 
with a love big enough to fill every 
nook and corner of it, if only mankind 
would allow Him< It was a great serv- 
ice, the presence of Christ being felt both 
in the music and the message. 

" I shall never forget that service to 
my dying day ; and I think I shall re- 
member when I join the Church Tri- 
umphant before God and the Lamb. 
When it was over I slept like a child 
at the joy of being able in story and 
in song to tell of my Saviour's bound- 
less love. 

11 The next night the church was again 
well filled to hear this little blind woman 
tell the story of her life. Many of them 
after the message greeted me and won- 

My Visit to Cambridge 157 

dered why I was so happy and strong 
at such a good old age. I told them 
it was all in the story of that little hymn 
* Hide Thou me.' 

In thy cleft, Rock of Ages, 

Hide Thou me ; 
When the fitful tempest rages, 

Hide Thou me ; 
Where no mortal arm can sever 
From my heart Thy love forever, 
Hide me, O Thou Rock of Ages, 

Safe in Thee. 

" The next evening the Locus Musical 
Club gave me a reception. That was 
as a green pasture in my life. They 
sang for me until I felt I was raised to 
the third heaven. I told them some 
funny stories and did my best to make 
the evening one of good cheer. They 
were a lovely lot of people. You know, 
Boston people can't help being nice. I'm 
a New Englander myself and love the 
strength and habits of its people. I felt 

158 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

highly honoured at having such splendid 
people come to see and entertain me. 

" When they told me that many of the 
professors of Harvard College were to 
call the next evening I said to myself, 
' Now, Fanny Jane, you must put on your 
best behaviour, and look as wise as Aris- 
totle.' I had heard and read of the great 
men of Harvard from my girlhood days, 
and as I have already told you, had al- 
ways a burning desire to get in some 
way under the influence of Harvard 

" My opportunity had now come. I 
was dressed in my best ' bib and tucker.' 
I must confess I never met a more cor- 
dial company of cultured men in all my 
life. There was one thing that I care- 
fully noticed, and that was, each pro- 
fessor possessed the gift of a strong 
hand. You know I judge people largely 
by the touch of the hand, and I am al- 
ways cautious when I shake hands with 

My Visit to Cambridge 159 

a weak-handed person. What a delight 
it was to me to be able to sit down by 
the side of Oliver Clinton Wendell, that 
master in the science of astronomy. I 
felt like a child at the feet of a master. 
He told me more about the heavens in 
that short time than I had learned in all 
my life. 

" My conversation with the professors 
was most entertaining., I told them that I 
had always had a deep interest in Harvard 
College, as one of my ancestors, Simon 
Crosby, was one of its founders, and that 
his son graduated therefrom in 1653. 
They were all deeply interested in the 
story of my forebears, and as I told them 
of my association with the Presidents 
and many notable men in music, art, and 
literature, they were much interested. I 
had to tell them, too, of Princeton, and 
my visits there to the home of President 

" During the evening our conversation 

160 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

was directed towards many persons and 
problems of modern life. At last one of 
them spoke of Mr. Roosevelt, as the 
peacemaker between Japan and Russia. 
I have always enjoyed the spirit of ■ the 
Colonel/ and this story was related to 
me concerning him when a student at 

" One afternoon he had to declaim. 
He had an abundance of confidence and 
was never known to break down in an 
oration. He marched onto the platform 
with an air of tenacity, and began in a 
High key : 

" ' At midnight in his lonely tent 

The Turk lay dreaming of the hour, 
When Greece her knee ' 

here he became confused and forgot the 
next word. He gritted his teeth, closed 
his eyes and repeated, ' Greece her knee, 
— Greece her knee, — Greece her knee.' 
The professor seeing the dilemma of his 
student looked up with a smile and said, 

My Visit to Cambridge 161 

'Greece her knee again, Theodore, and 
maybe she'll go.' 

" Altogether I was treated so loyally, 
and entertained so interestingly that I 
did not want the professors to leave. 
What a joy it is to associate with such 
men. The next day they sent me so 
many flowers and so much fruit that I 
was compelled to share their generosity 
with others. 

" I went to my room feeling that I had 
been highly honoured, and that I had a 
goodly heritage. A certain feeling crept 
over me that it is difficult to describe. 
Truly I had found the Wells of Elim and 
I thought of my own song : 

Cool from the wells of Elim, 

Softly the waters bright, 
Under the waving palm trees, 

Smiled in the peaceful light ; 
There were the tents so goodly, 

There was a nation strong, 
Resting awhile by Elim's wells, 

Praising the Lord in song. 

1 62 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

" Purer than wells of Elim 

Under the palm trees fair, 
Sweeter than Horeb's waters 

Hailed by the fainting there, — 
Lo, at the feet of mercy, 

Fresh from the springs above, 
Jesus the living water gives, 

Bought with redeeming love. 

I sat in my rocking-chair in a musing 
mood. I did not feel like retiring ; it 
seemed as if all the scenes associated 
with Harvard's noble past came crowding 
around me. I sat far into the night in a 
sort of transported reverie, living over 
again the stirring scenes of American 
history and letters which revolve around 
old Harvard's famous walls." 

Here the door-bell rang. It was a call 
for Aunt Fanny to visit a home in the 
neighbourhood that had been stricken by 
the sudden removal of the father of the 
family. She sprang to her feet, and said, 
" I must go at once," and away she sped 
on her mission of comfort. 

My Visit to Cambridge 163 

That night she spoke in my church. 
"My dear friends," she said, "I know 
there are hearts in this community that 
are broken, and souls that are going 
through Gethsemane. I went to such a 
family here to-day, and prayed with them 
in their sorrow, and sought to give a bit of 
comfort in their distress. We are told in 
the story of the Israelites' sojourn in the 
desert of their coming to a place where 
they found the water so bitter that neither 
they nor their cattle could drink it. Be- 
cause of this the encampment was named 
Marah. For those dear hearts who had 
come to the bitter waters of life I have writ- 
ten a short poem called ' Marah's Waters' ! 

Not always on the mountain 
The sweetest flowers we find, 
But sometimes in the valley, 
With cypress branches twined 
We see their buds unclosing, 
Their blossoms bending low, 
A hallowed fragrance breathing 
Where Marah's waters flow. 

164 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

O valley of submission, 
Where once the Son of God, 
Our precious loving Saviour, 
In lonely silence trod. 
And when our hearts are breaking, 
To Him we there may go, 
Assured that He is nearest, 
Where Marah's waters flow. 

O valley of submission, 
Where, leaning on His breast, 
We tell Him all our sorrow, 
And feel the calm of rest. 
Tho' oft He gently leads us, 
Where verdant pastures grow 
His Mercy shines the brightest 
Where Marah's waters flow. 

" There is one other delightful thought 
I want to leave with you and that is, that 
while we have our days of sorrow we also 
have our seasons of joy. I always look 
on the bright side of life. I love youth 
and all that brings sunshine into the 
home and church. I like birthdays, not 
so much because my friends send me so 
many cheery words and tokens of friend- 

Fanny Crosby at Seventy-five 

My Visit to Cambridge 165 

ship, but because of the pleasure that I 
may be able to give to them. I have 
written hundreds of birthday poems, and 
I want, by way of closing, to recite one I 
have written for a very dear friend. It 
is called 'A Birthday Vision/ 

Bending o'er me like a cherub 

At the morning's rosy dawn, 
While Aurora's magic fingers 

Robed in light the dewy lawn, 
Came a form of rarest beauty 

And these words I heard her say, 
Dear Irene, My precious treasure 

Hails her eighteenth year to-day. 

When an infant in her cradle, 

I have watched her though unseen^ 
I have scattered buds and blossoms 

O'er the pathway of Irene, 
I was made her guardian angel 

And to me the charge was given, 
Still to keep and shield her footsteps 

All the way from earth to heaven., 

She is reared by tender parents 
In her home affection dwells, 

And the love that clings about her 
Of a perfect union tells ; 

66 Fanny Crosby *s Own Story 

Give to her a birthday greeting 
Wafted from celestial bowers, 

And a garland I have brought her 
From a sunny vale of flowers. 

The speaker called her minstrels 

With their hands to crown the scene, 
Hope and friendship, joy and music 

Sang the birthday of Irene, 
As I gazed in all its splendour 

Burst the glorious orb of day, 
And our dear one's guardian angel 

Plumed her wings and soared away 

Dear Irene, My voice repeats it 
While I clasp thy hand in mine, 

This the prayer my heart is breathing 
May a cloudless life be thine." 


Ninety Golden Years 

* * W * * 

Yet a little while we linger 

Ere we reach the journey's end ; 
Yet a little while of labour, 

Ere the evening shades descend ; 
Then we'll lay us down to slumber 

But the night will soon be o'er ; 
In the bright, the bright forever 

We shall slumber never more. 

On the banks beyond the river 
We shall meet no more to sever, 

In the bright, the bright forever, 
In the summer-land of song. 

O the bliss of life eternal ! 

O the long unbroken rest 
In the golden fields of pleasure, 

In the region of the blest ! 
But to see our dear Redeemer 

And before His throne to fall 
There to hear His gracious welcome, 

Will be sweeter far than all. 

On the banks beyond the river 
We shall meet no more to sever 

In the bright, the bright forever, 
In the summer-land of song. 


u Our lives are albums written through 
With good or ill, with false or true ; 
And as the blessed angels turn 

The pages of our years, 
God grant they read the good with smiles, 

And blot the ill with tears ! " 

" "M JTY dear, dear friends," said 

\/ 1 Aunt Fanny, " I am happy 

to greet you here to-night. 

These ninety years are rich with the 

wealth of goodness sparkling with the 

best spirit of sweetness and overflowing 

with the true wine of joy and gladness." 

It was a Sabbath day in October and 

crowds of people filled the church to 

hear Aunt Fanny Crosby tell the story 

of ninety golden years. She stood by a 

small table that was loaded down with 

the sunburst roses. As she lovingly 

170 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

caressed the flowers she went on, " I 
come to you in the evening tide of life 
with a rod and a staff, and I am living in 
the sight of eternity's sunrise. Hope's 
star shines clearer on my pathway to- 
night than it did fifty years ago. It is 
the never fading flower of my life, it 
enriches and beautifies my every hour. 
Hope has always been the burden of my 
song. It is, to-night, the dominant fac- 
tor in my life of industry. It lights my 
morning hours, it brightens my noon- 
day activities, it glows in the evening 
shadows. I constantly am writing of the 
door of hope for downcast souls and I 
shall carry on the ministry of hope till 
I shall enter the Celestial City. 

" During these ninety years I have 
made a careful study of human nature, 
and I know a person by the touch of the 
hand or the sound of the voice. Even 
the footstep is to me a token of the char- 
acter of its owner. I never feel safe in 

Ninety Golden Tears 171 

the company of a person with a very- 
pious, whining voice, I have seldom 
made a mistake in the selection of my 
friends during these ninety years. Once 
in a while I have been fooled by frauds, 
but not often. Dwight L. Moody once 
told me something that has often helped 
me. ' Fanny,' he said, ' be careful when- 
ever you see a man with long hair or a 
woman with short hair. Usually (though 
not always) they are freaks ; and schism 
and freaks were ever strong hindrances 
to the advance of the Christian faith/ 

" My love for the beautiful has devel- 
oped with age. The sunset on the Great 
Lakes or over the bounding billows has 
a wonderful charm for me. The fra- 
grance of these beautiful sunburst roses 
here to-night inspires me to say a word 
concerning the good, the beautiful, th$ 
true. A whiff of the sea-breeze is life, 
giving to my heart. The artist touch 
in city or country I always enjoy. Al 

172 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

Christmas-time my room must have the 
holly and the mistletoe, and at Easter I 
live with the lily and the rose. 

" During these ninety years I have 
been careful of cultivating a sunny dis- 
position, for I have found in my experi- 
ence so many who when they grow old 
become bitter and difficult to get along 
with. I made up my mind, years ago, 
that I would never become a disagreeable 
old woman, and that wherever I went I 
would take sunshine and good cheer. I 
belong to the Sunshine Society. It is 
my purpose in old age to grow ripe, and 
rich, and heavenly. I must be loved 
rather than feared. Many sorrows which 
have been heartrending have crossed 
my path, but out of my Gethsemane I 
have reached Olivet where angel voices 
have beckoned me to lands of strength 
and eternal sunshine. Of malice I can 
safely say I have none. I love the com- 
pany of children better to-day than I did 

Ninety Golden Years 173 

fifty years ago. I am at perfect ease in 
their company. I am happy to know 
there are so many here to-night. I al- 
ways say, ' Bring the children. Aunt 
Fanny has something for the children.' 

" I have sought each day to be one of 
God's unselfish souls. From the time 
when I received the first check for my 
poems I made up my mind to open my 
hand wide to those who needed assist- 
ance. During these ninety years I have 
never served for mere pay. I have al- 
ways wanted to do a full day's work re- 
gardless of what the financial result might 
be. He who only works for pay gets 
nothing more. Gold is good in its place, 
my dear friends, but when it becomes our 
master, it places a crown of thorns upon 
the brow that crushes the strongest to 
the earth. Better a man without money 
than money without the man. 

" My simple trust in God's goodness 
has never failed me during these many 

174 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

years, since I learned the lesson of * trust 
and obey.' The Lord has duly and truly 
been my Good Shepherd, and has never 
permitted me to want ; for two good 
angels, Mercy and Truth, have followed 
me all the days of my life, and I will dwell 
in the house of the Lord forever. For me 
to doubt the care of Him who watches 
the sparrow fall would be a sin. Faith 
supplies me with good gifts from my 
Father's hand. My whole life has been 
an example of the lines : 

" Trust on, as clouds of evening glide away, 
And leave the calm reflection of the day. 
Soon shall thy waiting eyes His glory see, 
And though through clouds it come, so let 
it be. 

11 My desire for a long life has been ful- 
filled. I claimed the promise, * With long 
life will I satisfy thee and show thee My 
salvation.' I wrote a poem to one of my 
dear friends a little while since which ex- 
presses my heart thought in this connec- 

Ninety Golden Years 175 

tion. My mother lived to be ninety-one, 
and my grandmother to be one hundred 
and three, so I wrote : 

Firm as a rock since first we met, 

Your love to me has been ; 
And this is why I venture now 

To tax it once again. 

Please greet the church I hold so dear, 

And to its pastor say, 
The kind remembrance he has shown 

On this my natal day, 

I never, never shall forget, 

And if I still survive, 
I hope to greet thee when I reach 

One hundred years and five. 

11 But if my heavenly Father will it 
otherwise it is well. I am but waiting by 
the river's brink, watching for the incom- 
ing of the tide. Then I shall, with my 
Pilot, enter the haven of eternal sunshine 
and service. My dear friends, I am a 
great admirer of the poetry of Lord Ten- 
nyson, but I do not like one of his lines 

176 Fanny Crosby's Own Story 

in the poem ' Crossing the Bar.' He 
says, ' I hope to see my Pilot face to face, 
When I have crossed the bar.' Now, / 
would say, ' I know I'll see my Pilot face 
to face, When I have crossed the bar/ 

" I know people are very anxious to 
hear something about the mode of living 
which has helped me to live so long 
and so well. From girlhood days to this 
present hour I have had three little angel- 
guards. The first angel guards my taste. 
I am always careful about my eating. 
There are things that I'd love to eat but 
the angel-guard says, ' You'd better not.' 
I follow the simplest form of diet — fresh 
eggs, fruit, vegetables, spring chicken, 
and I love a cup of tea. The next angel- 
guard controls my temper. I early made 
up my mind that when people lose their 
tempers they usually make fools of them- 
selves, so I resolved always to keep mine. 
The next angel-guard is over my tongue 
and I constantly pray, ' Set a watch, O 

Ninety Golden Years 177 

Lord, over my mouth, keep Thou the 
door of my lips.' When quite a girl I 
learned this message from the Psalm : 

" * What man is he that desireth life, and loveth 
many days, that he may see good ? 

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from 
speaking guile. 

Depart from evil, and do good ; seek peace, 
and pursue it. ' 

" My methods of work are very simple. 
I retire to my room about ten o'clock and 
spend two hours in thinking out a poem, 
going over every line until it is thoroughly 
fixed in my mind. The next day I re- 
peat what I have made to a copyist. To 
work out my hymns I must be alone and 
quiet. Many have asked me why I al- 
ways carry this little book, and hold it in 
my hand while I am speaking. Well, 
that is just one of my habits and I never 
think of leaving home without it. Some- 
times it is a copy of the Psalms, or the 

178 Fanny Crosbfs Own Story 

New Testament, or a book of daily quo- 
tations. When reciting my poems, some- 
times a word escapes me, but by raising 
this little book towards my face my mem- 
ory is prompted and the lost word brought 
back. At this advanced age I can recite 
my long poems without difficulty and talk 
to large audiences for an hour without 
being tired out. There is nothing in this 
wide world that gives me so much joy as 
telling the story of my Saviour's loving 

This is my story, this is my song, 
Praising my Saviour all the day long ; 
This is my story, this is my song, 
Praising my Saviour all the day long. 

" My love for the Holy Bible and its 
sacred truth is stronger and more precious 
to me at ninety than at nineteen. I have 
no time to cavil over the sacred volume 
or raise questions of no value about the 
Word. I go to the Book to find God and 
man's relation to Him. There I see 

The little book Fanny Crosby always held in her 
hand when speaking in public 

'Aunt Fanny's" industry : "She delighted in knit- 
tiny wash-rays for her friends." 

Ninety Golden Years 179 

Christ as representing God's spirit in hu- 
man flesh. This Book to me is God's 
treasure house and there is nothing I love 
better than to have my friends read to me 
from the sacred page. It is my bread of 
life, the anchor of my hope, my pillar of 
fire by night, my pillar of cloud by day. 
It is the lantern that lights my pathway 
to my Paradise Home. 

" As I look down the avenue of these 
ninety years I find that I have been in- 
terested in everything that has been 
advanced for the welfare of the greatest 
number of mankind. Standing on the 
ninetieth golden step I look backward 
and see the pathway of struggle and 
victory. I take a glance forward, and 
lo, heaven's sunrise breaks in splendoui 
on my brow. 

Here let me wait with patience, 
Wait till the night is o'er ; 

Wait till I see the morning 
Break on the golden shore." 

180 Fanny Crosby \s Own Story 

The service ended. Aunt Fanny shook 
hands with hundreds of people, then went 
with me to the manse. She took a cup 
of tea, and went to her room, there to sleep 
as peacefully as a little child. 


Some Day, Till Then 

Some day the silver cord will break, 
And I no more as now shall sing t 

But, O the joy when I shall wake 
Within the palace of the King ! 

And I shall see Him face to face, 
And tell the story — Saved by Grace 

Some day my earthly house will fall : 
I cannot tell how soon 'twill be : 

But this I know— My All in All 
Has now a place in heaven for me. 

Some day, when fades the golden sun 

Beneath the rosy-tinted west, 
My blessed Lord will say, " Well done ! " 

And I shall enter into rest. 

Some day, — till then I'll watch and wait, 
My lamp all trimmed and burning bright^ 

That when my Saviour opes the gate, 
My soul to Him may wing its flight. 

[ 1891 ] 



M Some day, — till then I'll watch and wait, 
My lamp all trimmed and burning bright, 
That when my Saviour opes the gate, 
My soul to Him may wing its flight." 

ON Friday morning, the twelfth of 
February, 1915, the news flashed 
around the globe that Fanny 
Crosby, the world famed hymn-writer, 
had quietly passed into the Better Land. 
On Thursday night she was about, as 
usual. At nine o'clock she dictated a 
letter and poem of comfort to a bereaved 
friend, whose daughter had been called 
to the House of Many Mansions. 
Here is the letter : 

" Thursday Evening. 
" My dear, dear friends : 

11 What shall I say? How shall I 
comfort you in this hour of your bereave- 

184 Fanny Crosby } s Own Story 

ment? I can scarcely realize that the 
white-robed angel has entered your home 
and left you desolate ; yet no, you are 
not desolate, for there comes a message 
of inspiration that whispers to you all : 
* What I do ye know not now, but you 
shall know hereafter.' And you know 
that your precious Ruth is * Safe in the 
arms of Jesus.' 

You will reach the river brink, 

Some sweet day, bye and bye ; 
You will find your broken link, 

Some sweet day, bye and bye. 
O the loved ones waiting there 

By the tree of life so fair, 
Till you come their joy to share 

Some sweet day, bye and bye." 

She retired to rest and nothing was 
heard until about three in the morning, 
when Mrs. Booth, with whom she resided, 
thought she heard footsteps in her room. 
She quickly went to Fanny, took her in 
her arms, when the sightless singer be- 
came unconscious. Two physicians were 
immediately called, one of whom said, 
u Why, Fanny's been dead ten minute* " 

« Some Day> Till Then — " 185 

"Oh, it cannot be," said Mrs. Booth. 
They sought to restore her to life but 
without avail. Her spirit had fled. 

Letters of condolence poured in from 
far and near. On the day of the funeral 
many who had been associated with Aunt 
Fanny in life stood by her silent form as 
she lay in her casket. She was always 
fond of flowers, and her favourite blooms 
were everywhere apparent. She seemed 
to be sleeping in a bed of violets. A fact 
not usually known was that whenever she 
travelled she took along with her a little 
silk American flag. As she lay asleep 
that silk flag rested in her right hand, 
and was buried with her. 

George C. Stebbins, with whom I sat 
at the funeral service, said to me, " Fanny 
wrote for the hearts of the people, and 
she wrote even better than she knew. 
She imbued all she ever did with a befit- 
ting spirit — the spirit of sweetness." 

Ira Allan Sankey, Hubert P. Main 

186 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

George C. Stebbins, and S, Trevena 
Jackson were the honourary pall-bearers. 
Long before the services began the 
church was filled to its utmost capacity. 
Ministers of all the churches from the city 
and surrounding country, together with 
many from other cities, attended. Repre- 
sentatives of church and patriotic organi- 
zations were present in large numbers. It 
was said to be the largest funeral service 
ever conducted in the city of Bridgeport. 
The floral decorations were in keeping 
with the beauty of the dead singer's life. 
Four tall palms were arrayed along the 
pulpit platform. The first was decorated 
with white roses and white carnations. 
Between the first and second palms floral 
pieces were arranged. The second palm 
was arrayed with red tulips and white 
lilieSo In the centre of the platform was 
a bower of flowers, consisting of a plaque 
of frezias and Roman hyacinths, a spray 
of narcissus and violets. In this bowei 

« Some Day, Till Then — " 187 

of flowers lay a cross of narcissus. The 
third palm was trimmed with pink roses 
and Easter lilies. Between this and the 
last palm was a wreath of frezias, violets, 
and magnolias. Then a heart of white 
carnations and narcissus. The fourth 
palm was decorated with white roses and 
Easter lilies and near it a bunch of violets 
and wheat, sent by Aunt Fanny's old 
hack driver. 

The choir, with the congregation, sang 
Aunt Fanny's favourite hymn, " Faith of 
Our Fathers." The Rev. H. A. Daven- 
port, of the People's Presbyterian Church, 
led in prayer. The choir sang, " Safe in 
the Arms of Jesus " and " Some Day the 
Silver Cord will Break." Rev. Geo. M. 
Brown, pastor of the First Methodist Epis- 
copal Church, of which Fanny Crosby was 
a member, said in part: "You have come 
to pay tribute, and to crown a friend. 
There must have been a royal welcome 
when this queen of sacred song burst the 

i88 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

bonds of death and passed into the glories 
of heaven. She had been anticipating 
the time of her coronation. Of late she 
talked more freely of this hour than she 
had been accustomed to c Her later writ- 
ings are full of it, as witness the follow- 
ing entitled ■ A Little While ' : 

' A little while to sow in tears and meekness, 
The precious seed along the vernal plain, 
Till into life the tender blades expanding 
Fresh promise gives to summer's ripening 

« A little while we weep for those we cherish, 
As one by one they near the river's brink,— 
A little while to catch their sweet assurance 
That we in heaven shall find each broken 

6 A little while ! and thus the glorious dawning, 
Of that fair morn beyond the swelling tide,— 
When we shall wake, and in our Saviour's 
Perfect and pure we shall be satisfied.' 

" My text for this occasion is taken 

" Some Day, Till Then— " 1 89 

from Second Timothy 4 : 1 — 'I have fought 
a good fight, I have finished my course, 
I have kept the faith, henceforth there is 
laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, 
shall give at that day.' 

" Like myself I am sure you feel that 
words are inadequate to tell the story 
of Fanny Crosby's greatness and good- 

" By her faith, her hope and her love 
she more nearly exemplified the Christian 
graces than any other person I have ever 
known. Her faith was rich and full, with 
no taint of doubt to lessen the sweetness 
of her assurance. If she believed too 
much she lost nothing by it in this life, 
and certainly not in the life into which she 
has entered. 

" In the thousands of hymns she has 
given to the world a false note is not 
sounded. Faith, hope and love — these 
three chords were always dominant. I 

190 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

doubt if she ever had a pessimistic 
thought, and she counted her blindness 
among her blessings. No discouraged 
mortals ever went to her for help but car- 
ried away a new song of hope in their 
hearts. Her great desire was to help the 
sinful to a better life, believing as she al- 
ways did that 

'Down in the human heart, crushed by the 

Feelings lie buried that grace can restore ; 

Touched by a loving hand, wakened by kind- 

Chords that were broken shall vibrate once 

" Her hymns have won thousands to 
penitential tears. And it is not to be 
wondered at, for she believed that no man 
sank so low but that he could be re- 
claimed by salvation." 

Dr. Brown went on to say it would be a 
most fitting thing for Bridgeport to build 
their proposed new Rescue Hall in 

" Some Day y Till Then — " 191 

memory of Fanny Crosby, to be known 
as the Crosby Memorial She was pre- 
eminently their poet, their guardian angel, 
their hope. The speaker dwelt on the 
assistance that Fanny Crosby has been 
to those who had once lost hope in Divine 
favour, but who now had been brought 
back into the light of pardon. A Crosby 
Memorial would be an honour to the city 
and would always be a distinguishing 
mark. Dr. Brown closed his address by 
reciting a poem sent to him by Eliza Ed- 
munds Hewitt of Philadelphia, author of 
" Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown," 
and other hymns : 

" Away to the country of sunshine and song, 
Our song-bird has taken her flight ; 
And she who had sung in the darkness so long 

Now sings in the beautiful light ; 
The harp-strings here broken are sweetly re« 
To ring in a chorus sublime ; 
The hymns that on earth she so trustfully sung 
Keep tune with eternity's chime ! 

92 Fanny Crosby s Own Story 

" What heart can conceive of the rapture she 
Awakened to glories so bright, 
Where radiant splendour unceasingly glows, 

Where cometh no shadows of night ! 
Her ■ life-work is ended,' and over the tide, 
' Redeemed ' in His presence to stand, 
She knows her Redeemer, for her crucified, 
1 By the print of the nails in His hand. ' 

" O 'Blessed Assurance ' — the lamp in her soul 
That made earthly midnight as naught ! 
A « New song ' of joy shall unceasingly roll 
To Him who her ransom had bought. 
To 'Rescue the Perishing,' her great delight, 

What bliss, in the Homeland, to meet 
With those she had told of the Lord's saving 
Together, to bow at His feet. 

" Good-bye, dearest Fanny, good-bye for a while ; 

You walk in the shadows no more ; 
Around you, the sunbeams of glory will smile ; 

The Lamb is the Light of that Shore ! 
Some day we will meet in the City above ; 

Together, we'll look on His face ; 
Safe, ' Safe in the Arms ' of the Jesus we love \ 

Together we'll sing, ■ Saved by Grace.' " 

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